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Updated August 20, 2020
Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
The Forest Service (FS) is responsible for managing 193
Congress appropriated $7.497 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 billion in regular funding, $64.8 million in
state, local, private, and international forest owners. FS is
emergency-designated supplemental funding to address
an agency within the Department of Agriculture, yet it
issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic (P.L. 116-136),
receives discretionary appropriations through the Interior,
and the $1.950 billion wildfire adjustment. The FY2020
Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
funding included increases for most FS accounts compared
with FY2019 appropriations and compared with the
FY2019 Discretionary Appropriations
Administration’s request. FS FY2020 total appropriations
For FY2019, the FS regular discretionary appropriation was
were 8% higher than FY2019 total appropriations. Because
$6.087 billion (P.L. 116-6). Congress provided an
FY2020 appropriations were not enacted by the start of the
additional $854.3 million to FS in emergency supplemental
fiscal year, two continuing resolutions, P.L. 116-59 and
appropriations (P.L. 116-20), bringing the total to $6.941
P.L. 116-69, provided continuing appropriations at FY2019
billion. The supplemental funding was provided to address
levels prior to enactment of P.L. 116-94.
hurricane and wildfire damage ($134.0 million) and to
repay funds transferred from other FS accounts in FY2018
Wildfire Adjustment/Wildfire Funding Fix
to pay for wildfire suppression ($720.3 million). P.L. 116-6
For FY2020, the $1.950 billion in additional funds was
specified that appropriations to most FS accounts are to
provided pursuant to the wildfire adjustment, a budgetary
remain available through FY2022.
mechanism established in P.L. 115-141 (Division O,
§102(a)), also commonly referred to as the wildfire funding
FY2020 Discretionary Appropriations
fix. This mechanism allows Congress to provide additional
The Trump Administration requested $5.141 billion in
funding above a specified baseline for wildfire suppression
FY2020 discretionary appropriations for FS, which
through an adjustment to the discretionary spending limit.
included reductions for nearly all FS accounts as compared
The baseline is the 10-year suppression obligation average,
with FY2019 appropriations. The Administration also
as reported in FY2015 ($1.011 billion for FS). The wildfire
requested an additional $1.950 billion in funding for
adjustment is available annually from FY2020 through
wildfire suppression through the wildfire adjustment,
FY2027, although the statutory limits for discretionary
discussed below, for a total request of $7.090 billion.
spending are currently only in effect through FY2021. The
wildfire adjustment is also available for appropriations to
the Department of the Interior.
Table 1. Forest Service (FS) Discretionary Appropriations, by Account ($ 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)
[Total without wildfire adjustment
Sources: P.L. 116-6 Division E; P.L. 116-20 Title VII; P.L. 116-94 Division D; P.L. 116-136 Title VII.
Notes: Suppl. = supplemental appropriations. Enacted figures reflect rescissions and deferrals. Column totals may not add due to rounding.
This row includes total FS appropriations to several relatively smal 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,
communication site administration.
link to page 1 Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
FS’s Appropriation Accounts
State and Private Forestry
FS discretionary appropriations were mostly in six accounts
The State and Private Forestry (SPF) account funds
(see Table 1) and are discussed below in decreasing order
programs to provide assistance to nonfederal forest owners
of funding. In addition to those six accounts, FS has several
to protect forests from wildfires, insects, diseases, and
other relatively small accounts. These accounts are
invasive plants. SPF received $347.0 million in FY2020,
combined into an “Other” category for this report and
5% of the total FS appropriation. This amount was $10.0
include appropriations for specified land acquisition
million (+3%) above the regular-enacted FY2019 level but
activities; the Range Betterment Fund; gifts, donations, and
$0.5 million (-0.1%) below the total FY2019 level, which
bequests for research; and management of national forest
included $12.0 million in supplemental funding. SPF
lands for subsistence uses. In FY2020, “Other” also
includes the Forest Legacy Program ($64.0 million), a cost-
included funding for communication site administration.
share grant program that has received appropriations from
P.L. 116-94 specified that appropriations to most FS
the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 54 U.S.C.
accounts are to remain available through FY2023.
§§200301 et seq.). Funding for most SPF programs
increased relative to FY2019 regular appropriations.
Wildland Fire Management
The largest share—57% ($4.301 billion)—of FS
Forest and Rangeland Research
appropriations went to the Wildland Fire Management
The Forest and Rangeland Research (FRR) account funds
(WFM) account, which funds activities related to the
research and development efforts to provide scientific
preparation for and suppression of wildfires. The WFM
information and new technologies to support sustainable
total appropriation included $1.340 billion for preparedness
forest and rangeland management. FRR received $308.0
activities and $2.961 billion for suppression operations. The
million in FY2020, 4% of the FS total appropriation. This
suppression funding included $1.011 billion as the baseline
includes $305.0 million in regular appropriations and $3.0
provided within discretionary spending limits and $1.950
million in supplemental funding. The FY2020
billion provided through the wildfire adjustment. The total
regularenacted funding was $4.0 million (+1%) more than
funding included an increase (+15%) in WFM funding from
total FY2019 appropriations. The FY2020 total
the previous year. Because of the wildfire adjustment,
appropriation was $7.0 million (+2%) more than total
however, the FY2020 funding came at a lower budgetary
score than the WFM funding in FY2019. Funds are
available until expended.
The Land Acquisition (LA) account provides funds derived
National Forest System
from the LWCF for FS to acquire lands for conservation or
The next-largest amount of FY2020 appropriations—27%
ownership consolidation, among other purposes. LA
of the total ($1.992 billion)—went to the National Forest
received $76.9 million in FY2020, $4.3 million (+6%)
System (NFS) account. This includes $1.958 in regular
above FY2019 levels.
appropriations and $34.0 million in supplemental funding.
The NFS account funds activities related to the
Forest Service Budget Restructuring
management of national forests and grasslands, including
In response to congressional direction to improve FS
planning, recreation, grazing, timber production, watershed,
accounting, budgeting, and management practices, the
wildlife, and law enforcement, among others. The FY2020
Administration requested a budgetary restructuring in
regular-enacted funding was $19.5 million (+1%) above the
FY2020 to establish a FS general management
regular-enacted FY2019 level; the FY2020 total
appropriations account. This account would have replaced
appropriation was $31.5 million (-2%) below the total
FS’s practice of using cost pools from each account to pay
FY2019 appropriation of $2.023 billion, which reflects an
for certain fixed costs and administrative expenses. Both
additional $85.0 million in supplemental funding. The
the House- and the Senate-passed versions of the FY2020
Hazardous Fuels program received $445.3 million and was
Interior appropriations bill would have established a Forest
the largest program within the NFS account. Funding for
Service Operations (FSO) account, but the restructuring
most NFS programs remained relatively constant relative to
was not adopted in FY2020 enacted appropriations.
FY2019 regular appropriations.
Congress directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish
an FSO account no later than October 1, 2021, and to
Capital Improvement and Maintenance
submit a report to the Appropriations committees detailing
The Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM) account
the account adjustments (P.L. 116-94 Division D §435).
funds FS efforts to provide and maintain facilities, roads,
trails, and other infrastructure needs across the NFS. CIM
FY2020 appropriations continued a budgetary restructuring
received $466.8 million in FY2020, 6% of the total FS
from FY2018; however, that restructuring moved some
appropriation. This includes $440.0 million in regular
programs previously funded through WFM to other
appropriations and $26.8 million in supplemental funding.
accounts. For example, Hazardous Fuels was funded in the
The FY2020 regular-enacted appropriation was $9.0
NFS account and State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire
million (+2%) above the FY2019 regular-enacted total of
Assistance were funded in the SPF account. The FY2020
$431.0 million, but the FY2020 total appropriation was
appropriations law also did not provide any funding for the
about the same as the total FY2019 funding level, which
FS’s FLAME wildfire suppression reserve account for the
includes an additional $36.0 million in supplemental
second consecutive year.
funding. Funding for all CIM programs increased relative to
Katie Hoover, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
FY2019 regular appropriations.
Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
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