The following federal laws are applicable to all lands (of any type or ownership) across all 50 states, five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. They are enforced in an effort to preserve, protect, and enhance the forest environment. These laws address the major components of sustainable forest management – e.g. water quality, air quality, soil quality, threatened and endangered species, and reducing the risk of invasive forest pests – and stipulate thresholds and management actions to be taken if those thresholds are violated.

Plant Protection Act

The Plant Protection Act prevents the introduction of forest and plant pests into the United States, or the dissemination of forest and plant pests within the United States.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates chemical use in forest stands, whether for insect control or for vegetation management (Source: Seneca).

Endangered Species Act (1973)

The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Under the ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened.

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been designated to carry out the provisions of CITES through the Division of Management Authority and the Division of Scientific Authority. CITES requires each Party to regularly submit reports on how they are implementing the Convention.  These reports may contain information on legislative and regulatory changes, as well as law enforcement, permitting, communications, and administrative matters.

United States reports can be found at this link: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/

Clean Water ACt (1972)

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972.  It’s expansion brought into its jurisdiction the protection of wetlands and swamps.

U.S. Lacey Act (Amended in 2008)

The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. Section 3372) makes it unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase any plant or plant product (including timber or wood product) that is taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States, a U.S. State, a U.S. Indian Tribe, or the law of a  foreign country that protects plants or regulates certain plant related offenses.

The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful for any person to make or submit any false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, any plant or plant product which has been or is intended to be (1) imported, exported, sold, purchased, or received from any foreign country; or (2) transported in interstate or foreign commerce. (16 U.S.C. Section 3372(d)).

Clean Air Act (1973)

The Clean Air Act requires federal agencies and states to have programs in place to protect air quality and visibility, including controls on prescribed burning and the use of ozone-depleting chemicals (Source: Seneca).

The Coastal Management Zone Act (1972)

The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 establishes a program designed to protect and restore, the nation’s coastal communities and resources. Because logging operations in the U.S. are considered a non-point source of pollution, each state is required to develop a set of forestry best management practices (BMPs) designed to protect soil and water quality.

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