Future of America’s forest and rangelands: Forest Service 2020 Resources Planning Act Assessment

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The 2020 Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment summarizes findings about the status, trends, and projected future of the Nation’s forests and rangelands and the renewable resources that they provide. The 2020 RPA Assessment specifically focuses on the effects of both socioeconomic and climatic change on the U.S. land base, disturbance, forests, forest product markets, rangelands, water, biodiversity, and outdoor recreation. Differing assumptions about population and economic growth, land use change, and global climate change from 2020 to 2070 largely influence the outlook for U.S. renewable resources. Many of the key themes from the 2010 RPA Assessment cycle remain relevant, although new data and technologies allow for deeper and wider investigation. Land development will continue to threaten the integrity of forest and rangeland ecosystems. In addition, the combination and interaction of socioeconomic change, climate change, and the associated shifts in disturbances will strain natural resources and lead to increasing management and resource allocation challenges. At the same time, land management and adoption of conservation measures can reduce pressure on natural resources. The RPA Assessment findings and associated data can be useful to resource managers and policymakers as they develop strategies to sustain natural resources.

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