The U.S. Forest Service — An Overview
Appendix E: The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, Page 44
Communities, municipal water supplies, and other Federal land are at risk from wildfire. That risk can
be reduced through cooperation action.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-148) (HFRA) was signed into law in December
2003. HFRA, as it is known, contains a variety of provisions to help speed up hazardous-fuel reduction
and forest-restoration projects on specific types of Federal land that are at risk of wildland fire and/or of
insect and disease epidemics. The HFRA helps States, Tribes, rural communities, and landowners restore
healthy forest and rangeland conditions on State, Tribal, and private lands. HFRA helps augment the
National Fire Plan (see Appendix A.3) and the Healthy Forests Initiative to protect lives and property
from wildfire. HFRA includes six major titles:
1. Hazardous Fuel Reduction on Federal Land. Reduce hazardous fuel to mitigate loss due to
2. Biomass. Expand research to improve the utilization of wood.
3. Watershed Forestry Assistance. Manage and conserve the health of forested watersheds.
4. Insect Infestations and Related Diseases. Control infestations of forest-damaging insects and
5. Healthy Forests Reserve Program. Restore and enhance forest ecosystems to improve biodiversity
and enhance carbon sequestration.
6. Miscellaneous. Inventory and monitor forest stands to better assess environmental threats.
The Healthy Forests Initiative, technically launched before HFRA, helps improve the condition of our
public lands, increases firefighter safety, and conserves landscape attributes valued by society. Together,
the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service implement the National Fire Plan and Healthy
Forests Initiative (using, in part, the authorities of HFRA) to help save the lives of firefighters and
citizens and to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, forests, and rangelands.
The following are key points about activities associated with HFRA:
1. An excessive accumulation of hazardous or unusually flammable fuels in our forests, woodlands, and
grasslands is the root cause of the unprecedented fire risk facing our public lands. Treatments occur
both inside and outside the wildland-urban interface.
2. Since 2001, Federal land management agencies (Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and
others) have treated nearly 26 million acres of Federal lands under the Healthy Forests Initiative and
the National Fire Plan through landscape restoration actions.
3. Stewardship contracting, an action used to help implement HFRA, includes natural resource
management activities that contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities, maintain
healthy forest ecosystems, and provide a continuing source of local income and employment.
4. Byproducts removed during hazardous fuels reduction are often utilized for bioenergy. In March
2008, $4.1 million in Forest Service woody biomass utilization grants were used to help 17 small
businesses and community groups find more innovative uses of woody biomass from national forests
in new products and renewable energy.
Appendix E: The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003
For Further Reference: More detail on the Healthy Forests Initiative is available