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Updated August 26, 2020
Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
The Forest Service (FS) is responsible for managing 193
Congress appropriated $7.504 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, $70.8 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% ($4.308 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, $2.961 billion for suppression operations, and
million in FY2020, 4% of the FS total appropriation. This
$7.0 million in supplemental funding. The suppression
includes $305.0 million in regular appropriations and $3.0
funding included $1.011 billion as the baseline provided
million in supplemental funding. The FY2020 regular
within discretionary spending limits and $1.950 billion
funding was $4.0 million (+1%) more than total FY2019
provided through the wildfire adjustment. The total funding
appropriations. The FY2020 total appropriation was $7.0
included an increase (+15%) in WFM funding from the
million (+2%) more than total FY2019 appropriations.
previous year. Because of the wildfire adjustment, however,
the FY2020 WFM funding came at a lower budgetary score
than in FY2019. Funds are available until expended.
The Land Acquisition (LA) account provides funds derived
from the LWCF for FS to acquire lands for conservation or
National Forest System
ownership consolidation, among other purposes. LA
The next-largest amount of FY2020 appropriations—27%
received $76.9 million in FY2020, $4.3 million (+6%)
of the total ($1.992 billion)—went to the National Forest
above FY2019 levels.
System (NFS) account. This includes $1.958 in regular
appropriations and $34.0 million in supplemental funding.
Forest Service Budget Restructuring
The NFS account funds activities related to the
In response to congressional direction to improve FS
management of national forests and grasslands, including
accounting, budgeting, and management practices, the
planning, recreation, grazing, timber production, watershed,
Administration requested a budgetary restructuring in
wildlife, and law enforcement, among others. The FY2020
FY2020 to establish a FS general management
regular-enacted funding was $19.5 million (+1%) above the
appropriations account. This account would have replaced
regular-enacted FY2019 level; the FY2020 total
FS’s practice of using cost pools from each account to pay
appropriation was $31.5 million (-2%) below the total
for certain fixed costs and administrative expenses. Both
FY2019 appropriation of $2.023 billion, which reflects an
the House- and the Senate-passed versions of the FY2020
additional $85.0 million in supplemental funding. The
Interior appropriations bill would have established a Forest
Hazardous Fuels program received $445.3 million and was
Service Operations (FSO) account, but the restructuring
the largest program within the NFS account. Funding for
was not adopted in FY2020 enacted appropriations.
most NFS programs remained relatively constant relative to
Congress directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish
FY2019 regular appropriations.
an FSO account no later than October 1, 2021, and to
submit a report to the Appropriations committees detailing
Capital Improvement and Maintenance
the account adjustments (P.L. 116-94 Division D §435).
The Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM) account
funds FS efforts to provide and maintain facilities, roads,
FY2020 appropriations continued a budgetary restructuring
trails, and other infrastructure needs across the NFS. CIM
from FY2018; however, that restructuring moved some
received $466.8 million in FY2020, 6% of the total FS
programs previously funded through WFM to other
appropriation. This includes $440.0 million in regular
accounts. For example, Hazardous Fuels was funded in the
appropriations and $26.8 million in supplemental funding.
NFS account and State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire
The FY2020 regular-enacted appropriation was $9.0
Assistance were funded in the SPF account. The FY2020
million (+2%) above the FY2019 regular-enacted total of
appropriations law also did not provide any funding for the
$431.0 million, but the FY2020 total appropriation was
FS’s FLAME wildfire suppression reserve account for the
about the same as the total FY2019 funding level, which
second consecutive year.
includes an additional $36.0 million in supplemental
Katie Hoover, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
funding. Funding for all CIM programs increased relative to
FY2019 regular appropriations.
Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations
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