Forestry has been an important part of American industry since the late 1600s and remains so to this day. As the importance of the timber industry was realized early in American history, so too was the need for laws to regulate it. For example, in 1708 New Hampshire passed an ordinance forbidding the harvesting of trees on ungranted lands. Since that time, statutes affecting the forestry industry have grown and evolved with the industry itself. From laws regulating timber theft to complex environmental regulations, those engaged in forestry must follow numerous state and federal laws both similar and distinct from those involved in other agricultural operations. Within the last thirty years there has been a dramatic increase in both the number and the complexity of the laws affecting forestry.   Read the full overview.


Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

National Forests, 16 U.S.C. §§ 471-546b-1
Federal Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act (a/k/a/ Clean Water Act), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1388
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 2901-2912
Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 41-48
Lacey Act Amendments, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378
Protection of Migratory Game and Insectivorous Birds Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 701-719c
Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, 16 U.S.C. § 528
Wildfire Disaster Recovery Act of 1989, 16 U.S.C. § 551
The Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (MUSYA), 16 U.S.C. § 528 et seq.
Scenic Areas, 16 U.S.C. §§ 541-546b-1a-5
Timber Protection Act of September 20, 1922, 16 U.S.C. § 594
Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003, 16 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6591
Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1976, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1600-1614
Forest Ecosystems and Atmospheric Pollution Research Act of 1988, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1641-1650
Renewable Resources Extension Act of 1978, 16 USCS §§ 1671-1676
Wood Residue Utilization Act of 1978, 16 USCS §§ 1681-1687
Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, 16 U.S.C. §§ 2101-2114
National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities Economic Diversification Act of 1990, 7 U.S.C. §§ 6611-6617
Southwest Forest Health and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2004, 16 U.S.C. §§ 6701-6707
Global Climate Change Prevention Act of 1990, 7 U.S.C. §§ 6701-6710

Study of Global Climate Change, Agriculture, and Forestry, 7 U.S.C. § 6702
Office of International Forestry, 7 U.S.C. § 6704
Institutes of Tropical Forestry, 7 U.S.C § 6706
Urban Forestry Demonstration Projects, 7 U.S.C § 6707

International Forestry Cooperation Act of 1990, 16 U.S.C. §§ 4501-4505
Hawaii Tropical Forest Recovery Act, 16 U.S.C. § 4503b
Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) of 1998, 22 U.S.C. 2431
John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, PL 116-9
Compilation of States’ Recreational Use Statutes
Compilation of States’ Agritourism Statutes


Removing Regulations Implementing the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Regulations, 7 C.F.R. Parts 300 et seq
Healthy Forests Reserve Program Regulations, 7 C.F.R. Part 625 – 625.12
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, 7 C.F.R. Part 636
Tree Assistance Program, 7 C.F.R. §§ 783.1-783.9
Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, 36 C.F.R. §§ 200.1-297.6
Wilderness Preservation, 43 C.F.R. §§ 19.1-19.8
Forest Management, 43 C.F.R. §§ 5003.1-5511.5
Management of Designated Wilderness Areas, 43 C.F.R. §§ 6301.1-6305.30
Endangered Species Act Regulations, 50 C.F.R. Part 17
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act Regulations, 50 C.F.R. §§ 83.1-83.21 (reserved)
Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife, 50 C.F.R. §§ 14.1-14.255

Case Law

Case Law Index for Forestry

Center Research Publications

Managing Legal Risk for Alternative Uses of Forestland (R. Rumley, Hatch, Walkingstick, E. Rumley, McPeake)
Compilation of State Forestry Organizations (Rumley & Knyazhishcheva, 2009)
Recent Agritourism Litigation in the United States

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017
Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Climate Change</a
Environmental Issues

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Forestry:

Energy Issues
Environmental Issues
Land Use Regulation
Public Lands

Reference Resources

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Forestry and Logging Sector
Agriculture and Forestry
Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Timber Casualty Losses
Life Cycle of an Agricultural or Horticultural Organization
The Farmer’s Tax Guide (2018)
Forest Activities Schedule (Form T – Timber)
Business Expenses Guide
Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets
Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Nonpoint Source Pollution
Wildfire Interactive Maps
Drought Index

United States Department of Agriculture

Natural Resources and Environment: Forest and Forestry 

Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS)

Horticulture & Forestry
Forest Products Market News

Forest Service

Landscape Stewardship
Ecosystem Services
Forest Legacy Program
Forest Taxation
Natural Resources Professionals
Forest Management
Forest Products Laboratory
Forest Economics and Policy
Forest Service Directives
Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA)
International Programs
Federal Income Tax on Timber – FAQs

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Forestry and Grasslands

National Agroforestry Center

National Agroforestry Center Tools

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Forest Programs

National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)
Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTA)
Landscape Conservation Initiatives
Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center
Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)
Stewardship Incentive Program (SIP)
Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Forestry Technical Resources
Forest Land

Congressional Resources

House Committee on Natural Resources

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining

Other Federal Resources

National Association of Conservation Districts: Forestry (NACD)
Bureau of Land Management: Forests and Woodlands (BLM)
Natural Resources and Environment: Forest and Forestry (USDA)
Forest Service: Managing the Land (USDA)
Conserving Biodiversity and Forests (United States Agency for International Development)


Forest Inventory and Analysis (USDA 2020)
Major Forest Insect and Disease Conditions in the United States: 2018 (USDA 2020)
Forest Ecosystem Health Indicators (USDA 2020)
Partnering for Sustainability, Protection, Restoration, and Stewardship of National Forests and Grasslands (USDA)
The Principle Laws Relating to USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Programs (USDA 2011)
Supporting U.S. Agricultural Landscapes Under Changing Conditions with Agroforestry (USDA 2018)
National Forestry Handbook (NRCS 2004)
National Forestry Manual (NRCS 1998)
Forest Landowner Natural Disaster Desk Guide and Toolkit (MS Coastal Plains RC&D)
Friends of the Forest (NACD 2016)
Forest Health and Wildfires (NACD 2017)
Stewardship Contracting Manual (BLM)
Tax Implications of Forest Ownership (Siegal 2008)
National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Forestry (EPA)
Trees at Work: Economic Accounting for Forest Ecosystem Services in the U.S. South (USDA 2017)
Family Forest Owners and Federal Taxes (Greene et al. 2013)
Farm Bill 2018: Programs of Interest to Forest Landowners (NC State Extension 2018)
Tax Reform Issues for Forest Landowners and the Forest Products Industry (NWOA)
Income Tax Deduction on Timber and Landscape Tree Loss from Casualty (USDA 2018)
Forested Landscapes in Perspective (Consensus Study Reports 1998)
National Agroforestry Center Research Publications (USDA)
Recent Literature and Resources: Forest Management on Public Lands (FWS)
Minimizing Federal Income Tax for Forest Landowners (MI St. U., 2005)
Forest Landowners’ Guide to the Federal Income Tax (USDA 2013)
State of the World’s Forests 2018 (FAO)
Estate Planning for Forest Landowners: What Will Become of Your Timberland? (Siegel, Haney, and Greene)

Additional Resources

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Forest Resource Consultants
Forest Stewards Guild
National Association of State Foresters (NASF)
Using Alternative Enterprises and Recreational Development to Bolster Farm Incomes (Workbook) (Tullos)
Forestry Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)
American Forest and Paper Association
American Forest Foundation
American Forests
American Tree Farm System
American Wood Council
Ask a Forester
Association of Consulting Foresters
Center for International Trade in Forest Products (U. of WA)
Dictionary of Forestry
Ecoforestry Institute
ForestryGuide: Gottingen State and University Library of Germany
Forest Landowners
Forestry Library (U. of MN)
Forestry Webinar Portal
Forest Products Society
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Forestry
Federal Forest Resource Coalition
Forest Resources Association
Forest Stewardship Council
International Union of Forest Research Organizations
Intermountain Forest Association
International Forest Industries
International Society of Arboriculture
International Tropical Timber Organization
Australian Forest Products Association(Australia)
National Council for Air & Stream Improvement (NCASI)
National Forest Foundation
National Hardwood Lumber Association
National Wildlife Federation
North American Wholesale Lumber Association
Private Forest Landowners Association
Roundtable on Sustainable Forests
Society of American Foresters
Society of Wood Science and Technology
Southern Group of State Foresters
Southern Forest Products Association
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry (TAPPI)
National Woodland Owners Association
National Association of State Foresters
Western Forestry Leadership Coalition
Western Wood Products Association