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January 24, 2020
Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
The Forest Service (FS) is responsible for managing 193
Congress appropriated $7.433 billion in total FY2020
million acres of land in the National Forest System (NFS);
discretionary appropriations for FS (P.L. 116-94), including
conducting forestry research; and providing assistance to
$5.483 in regular funding plus the additional $1.950 billion
state, local, private, and international forest owners. FS is
wildfire adjustment. The law included increases for most
an agency within the Department of Agriculture, yet it
FS accounts compared with FY2019 regular appropriations
receives discretionary appropriations through the Interior,
and compared with the Administration’s request. In total,
Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
FS FY2020 appropriations were 7% higher than FY2019
total appropriations.
FY2019 Discretionary Appropriations
For FY2019, the FS regular discretionary appropriation was
Because FY2020 appropriations were not enacted by the
$6.087 billion (P.L. 116-6). Congress provided an
start of the fiscal year, two continuing resolutions, P.L. 116-
additional $854.3 million to FS in emergency supplemental
59 and P.L. 116-69, provided continuing appropriations at
appropriations (P.L. 116-20), bringing the total to $6.941
FY2019 levels prior to enactment of P.L. 116-94.
billion. The supplemental funding was provided to address
hurricane and wildfire damage ($134.0 million) and to
Wildfire Adjustment/Wildfire Funding Fix
repay funds transferred from other FS accounts in FY2018
For FY2020, the $1.950 billion in additional funds was
to pay for wildfire suppression ($720.3 million). P.L. 116-6
requested pursuant to the wildfire adjustment, a budgetary
specified that appropriations to most FS accounts are to
mechanism established in P.L. 115-141 (Division O,
remain available through FY2022.
§102(a)), also commonly referred to as the wildfire funding
. This mechanism allows Congress to provide additional
FY2020 Discretionary Appropriations
funding above a specified baseline for wildfire suppression
The Trump Administration requested $5.141 billion in
through an adjustment to the discretionary spending limit.
FY2020 discretionary appropriations for FS, which
The baseline is the 10-year suppression obligation average,
included reductions for nearly all FS accounts as compared
as reported in FY2015 ($1.011 billion for FS). The wildfire
with FY2019 appropriations. The Administration also
adjustment is available annually from FY2020 through
requested an additional $1.950 billion in funding for
FY2027, although the statutory limits for discretionary
wildfire suppression through the wildfire adjustment,
spending are currently only in effect through FY2021. The
discussed below, for a total request of $7.090 billion.
wildfire adjustment is also available for appropriations to
the Department of the Interior.
Table 1. Forest Service (FS) Discretionary Appropriations, by Account ($ in millions)

Forest and Rangeland Research (FRR)
State and Private Forestry (SPF)
National Forest System (NFS)
Capital Improvement & Maintenance (CIM)
Land Acquisition (LA)
Wildland Fire Management (WFM)
Wildfire Adjustment

Total WFM
[Total without wildfire adjustment
Sources: P.L. 116-6 Division E; P.L. 116-20 Title VII; FS FY2020 budget justification; P.L. 116-94 Division D.
Notes: Enacted figures reflect rescissions from the SPF account in FY2019 ($1.5 million) and LA in FY2020 ($2.0 million), as well as deferrals
from the Roads and Trails Fund in CIM in both years ($15.0 million). Column totals may not add due to rounding.
a. This row includes total FS appropriations to several relatively small accounts, including for specified land acquisition activities; the Range
Betterment Fund; gifts, donations, and bequests for research; management of national forest lands for subsistence uses; and in FY2020,

link to page 1 Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
communication site administration. The explanatory statement for P.L. 116-94 did not reflect the Administration’s request for
communication site administration.
FS’s Appropriation Accounts
State and Private Forestry (SPF)
FS discretionary appropriations were mostly in six accounts
The SPF account funds programs to provide assistance to
(see Table 1) and are discussed below in decreasing order
nonfederal forest owners to protect forests from wildfires,
of funding. In addition to those six accounts, FS has several
insects, diseases, and invasive plants. SPF received $347.0
other relatively small accounts. These accounts are
million in FY2020, 5% of the total FS appropriation. This
combined into an “Other” category for this report and
amount was $10.0 million (+3%) above the regular-enacted
include appropriations for specified land acquisition
FY2019 level but $0.5 million (-0.1%) below the total
activities; the Range Betterment Fund; gifts, donations, and
FY2019 level, which included $12.0 million in emergency-
bequests for research; and management of national forest
designated supplemental funding. SPF includes the Forest
lands for subsistence uses. In FY2020, “Other” also
Legacy Program ($64.0 million), a cost-share grant
included funding for communication site administration.
program that has received appropriations from the Land and
Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 54 U.S.C. §§200301 et
P.L. 116-94 specified that appropriations to most FS
seq.). Funding for most SPF programs increased relative to
accounts are to remain available through FY2023.
FY2019 regular appropriations.
Wildland Fire Management (WFM)
Forest and Rangeland Research (FRR)
The largest share—58% ($4.301 billion)—of FS
The FRR account funds research and development efforts to
appropriations went to the WFM account, which funds
provide scientific information and new technologies to
activities related to the preparation for and suppression of
support sustainable forest and rangeland management. FRR
wildfires. The WFM total appropriation included $1.340
received $305.0 million in FY2020, 4% of the FS total
billion for preparedness activities and $2.961 billion for
appropriation. This amount was $4.0 million (+1%) more
suppression operations. The suppression funding included
than total FY2019 appropriations.
$1.011 billion as the baseline provided within discretionary
spending limits and $1.950 billion provided through the
Land Acquisition (LA)
wildfire adjustment. The total funding included an increase
The LA account provides funds derived from the LWCF for
(+15%) in WFM funding from the previous year. Because
FS to acquire lands for conservation or ownership
of the wildfire adjustment, however, the FY2020 funding
consolidation, among other purposes. LA received $76.9
came at a lower budgetary score than the WFM funding in
million in FY2020, $4.3 million (+6%) above FY2019
FY2019. Funds are available until expended.
National Forest System (NFS)
Forest Service Budget Restructuring
The next-largest amount of FY2020 appropriations—26%
In response to congressional direction to improve FS
of the total ($1.958 billion)—went to the NFS account. The
accounting, budgeting, and management practices, the
NFS account funds activities related to the management of
Administration requested a budgetary restructuring in
the national forests and grasslands, including planning,
FY2020 to establish a FS general management
recreation, grazing, timber production, watershed, wildlife,
appropriations account. This account would have replaced
and law enforcement, among other activities. The FY2020
FS’s practice of using cost pools from each account to pay
funding was $19.5 million (+1%) above the regular-enacted
for certain fixed costs and administrative expenses. Both
FY2019 level and $65.5 million (-3%) below the total
the House- and Senate-passed versions of the FY2020
FY2019 appropriations of $2.023 billion, which reflects an
Interior appropriations bill would have established a Forest
additional $85.0 million in emergency-designated
Service Operations (FSO) account, but the restructuring
supplemental funding. The Hazardous Fuels program
was not adopted in the FY2020 enacted appropriations.
received $445.3 million and was the largest program within
However, Congress directed the Secretary of Agriculture to
the NFS account. Funding for most NFS programs
establish an FSO account no later than October 1, 2021, and
remained relatively constant relative to FY2019 regular
to submit a report to the Appropriations committees
detailing the account adjustments (P.L. 116-94 Division D
Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM)
The CIM account funds FS efforts to provide and maintain
FY2020 appropriations continued a budgetary restructuring
facilities, roads, trails, and other infrastructure needs across
from FY2018; however, that restructuring moved some
the national forest system. CIM received $440.0 million in
programs previously funded through WFM to other
FY2020, 6% of the total FS appropriation. This amount was
accounts. For example, Hazardous Fuels was funded in the
$9.0 million (+2%) above the FY2019 regular-enacted total
NFS account, and State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire
of $431.0 million but $27.0 million (-6%) below the total
Assistance were funded in the SPF account. The FY2020
FY2019 funding level, which includes an additional $36.0
appropriations law also did not provide any funding for the
million in emergency-designated supplemental funding.
FS’s FLAME wildfire suppression reserve account for the
Funding for all CIM programs increased relative to FY2019
second consecutive year (FLAME’s last funding was
regular appropriations.
provided in FY2018 supplemental appropriations (P.L. 115-
72)). The account is set to be terminated after three
consecutive years without an appropriation or withdrawal.

Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations

Katie Hoover, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

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