June 13, 2017
Forest Service: FY2017 Appropriations and FY2018
The Forest Service (FS) is responsible for managing 193
million acres of land in the National Forest System (NFS);
conducting forestry research; and providing assistance to
state, local, private, and international forest owners. FS is
an agency within the Department of Agriculture, yet it
receives discretionary appropriations through the Interior,
Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
($3.909 billion combined). Note that the FY2016 combined
WFM and FLAME appropriations were substantially higher
than the combined FY2015 appropriations ($2.636 billion)
and included $700.0 million in emergency funding (and
designated outside of discretionary spending limits)
provided to the WFM account and an increase of nearly
$0.500 billion to the FLAME appropriation.
For FY2017, total FS discretionary appropriations were
$5.596 billion (P.L. 115-31, Consolidated Appropriations
Act, 2017). This figure includes $342.0 million designated
as emergency funding and outside of discretionary spending
limits. In total, FY2017 discretionary appropriations were
12% lower than the FY2016 appropriations of $6.364
billion. For FY2018, the Administration requested $4.732
billion, 15% less than FY2017 enacted level.
The next largest amount of FY2017 appropriations—27%
of the total ($1.513 billion)—went to the NFS account,
which funds activities related to the management of the
national forests and grasslands. The largest program within
the NFS account, Forest Products (which funds timber sales
planning and implementation), received $367.8 million in
FY2017 Discretionary Appropriations
FS discretionary appropriations for FY2017 were almost
entirely in seven main accounts (see Table 1 and Figure 1).
The largest share—a combined 57% ($3.175 billion)—went
to two accounts: the Wildland Fire Management (WFM)
and FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund accounts.
The WFM account funds activities related to the
management of unplanned and unwanted fires, including
suppression of wildfires. The FLAME account funds
emergency wildfire suppression activities under certain
specified circumstances. The FY2017 WFM and FLAME
appropriations are $733.9 million below the FY2016 levels
Figure 1. Share of Total FS FY2017 Appropriations
Note: See Table 1 for account abbreviations.
Table 1. Forest Service (FS) Discretionary Appropriations by Account
($ in millions)
Forest and Rangeland Research (FRR)
State and Private Forestry (SPF)
National Forest System (NFS)
Capital Improvement & Maintenance (CIM)
Land Acquisition (LA)
($ in millions)
($ in millions)
Wildland Fire Management (WFM)
Source: P.L. 114-133 Division G; P.L. 115-31 Division G; FS FY2018 budget justification.
Notes: Figures in brackets represent total enacted appropriations, including funds provided outside of discretionary spending limits ($700.0
million in FY2016 and $342.0 million in FY2017). Percentage change is calculated using total figures, including funds subject to and outside of
discretionary spending limits.
In addition to the larger accounts listed, FS receives appropriations to several relatively small accounts, such as appropriations for the
Range Betterment Fund; gifts, donations, and bequests for research; and management of national forest lands for subsistence uses.
Forest Service: FY2017 Appropriations and FY2018 Budget Request
The remaining accounts each received 6% or less of the
total appropriations for FY2017:
The Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM)
account received 6% of the total appropriations. It funds
FS efforts to provide and maintain facilities, roads,
trails, and other infrastructure needs, including
addressing the agency’s estimated $5.5 billion in
The Forest and Rangeland Research (FRR) account
received 5% of the total appropriations. It funds research
and development efforts to provide scientific
information and new technologies to support sustainable
forest and rangeland management.
The State and Private Forestry (SPF) account received
4% of the total appropriations. It funds programs to
provide assistance to nonfederal forest owners and to
protect forests from insects, diseases, and invasive
plants. Included in this account is the Forest Legacy
Program, a cost-share grant program that receives
appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation
Fund (LWCF; 54 U.S.C. §§200301 et seq.).
The Land Acquisition (LA) account received 1% of the
total, which includes funds derived from the LWCF as
well as from two smaller appropriations accounts. These
funds allow FS to acquire lands for conservation or
ownership consolidation purposes.
P.L. 115-31 specified that appropriations to most FS
accounts are to remain available through the end of
FY2020. Previous appropriations laws generally provided
that FS appropriations could remain available until
FY2018 Budget Request
The Trump Administration requested $4.732 billion in
discretionary appropriations for FS in FY2018. This request
is $1.026 billion below the FY2017 request and $0.865
billion below FY2017 enacted discretionary appropriations.
The FY2018 request proposed cuts to all but one FS
account, compared to FY2017 enacted levels.
Wildland Fire Management and FLAME
The Administration’s request includes $2,495.0 million for
WFM for FY2018, a decrease of $338.4 million (12%)
from FY2017 enacted levels ($2,833.4 million). Part of this
decrease in WFM is due to a proposed move of the
Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program to the NFS account.
The budget would fund the Suppression Operations
Program at 100% of the rolling 10-year suppressionobligation average. The FS changed the methodology used
to calculate the rolling average and shifted some funds to
the Preparedness Program. The request proposed to
eliminate funding for the FLAME reserve account instead
of splitting the funds for suppression activities between that
account and the Suppression Operations Program. In total,
the FY2018 request of $2,495.0 million for all wildland fire
management activities is $680.4 million (20%) below
FY2017 enacted levels ($3,175.4 million, WFM and
FLAME combined). For more information, see CRS Report
R45005, Wildfire Management Funding: Background,
Issues, and FY2018 Appropriations.
National Forest System
The request proposed $1,747.4 million for the NFS account
in FY2018, a $234.1 million (15%) increase over FY2017
enacted levels ($1,513.3 million). The increase is due to a
proposed account restructuring that would shift $354.3
million from the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program in the
WFM account to the NFS account. Without the addition of
the proposed Hazardous Fuels Reduction funds, the NFS
request is $120.2 million less than FY2017 enacted levels.
Within the NFS account, the Administration requested level
or increased funding for the Forest Products and Law
Enforcement Operations Programs. Among the cuts, the
request proposed to eliminate funding for the Collaborative
Forest Landscape Restoration Program.
Forest and Rangeland Research
The request included $259.0 million for FRR, a decrease of
$29.5 million (10%) from FY2017 enacted levels ($288.5
million). Funding for the Inventory and Monitoring
research focus area would remain relatively level under the
proposal, but funding for the other research focus areas
would be reduced.
State and Private Forestry
The Trump Administration requested $118.0 million for
SPF for FY2018, a decrease of $98.9 million (46%) from
FY2017 enacted levels ($216.9 million).The request would
fund the Forest Stewardship program and the Forest Health
Management Programs for both Federal and Cooperative
Lands at reduced levels. The proposal would eliminate
funding for the Landscape Scale Restoration, Forest
Legacy, Community Forest and Open Space Conservation,
and Urban and Community Forestry Programs.
Capital Improvement and Maintenance
The Administration’s request included $99.7 million for
CIM, a decrease of $248.3 million (71%) from FY2017
enacted levels ($348.0 million). The request would fund the
Facilities, Roads, and Trails Programs at reduced levels,
including a nearly $100 million reduction for the Roads
Program. The proposal would eliminate funding for
Deferred Maintenance and for the Legacy Roads and Trails
Program, which funds infrastructure repair in areas where
degradation could impair water supplies or protected
The request included $8.0 million for LA, a decrease of
$47.5 million (86%) from FY2017 enacted levels ($55.6
million). The proposal would maintain existing staffing
levels but would not propose any new land acquisition.
Katie Hoover, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
Forest Service: FY2017 Appropriations and FY2018 Budget Request
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