Forest Practices

Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act

The Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA, AS 41.17) (PDF) governs how timber harvesting, reforestation, and timber access occur on state, private, and municipal land. Forest management standards on federal land must also meet or exceed the standards for state land established by the Act. The FRPA was originally adopted in 1978. Major revisions were adopted in 1990 to address riparian management on private land, enhance notification procedures for timber operations, reorganize the Board of Forestry, and establish enforcement procedures. Additional changes to the stream classification system and riparian management standards for coastal forests (Region I) were adopted in 1999. In 2003, changes were made to address interior Alaskan (Region III) riparian forest management standards.


The Act is designed to protect fish habitat and water quality, and ensure prompt reforestation of forestland while providing for a healthy timber industry. The FRPA ensures that both the timber and commercial fishing industries can continue to provide long-term jobs.

Key provisions

The Act addresses these goals by:

  • Requiring that landowners notify the state before beginning commercial timber operations.
  • Setting standards for forest management along waterbodies, including buffers (see Table 1). For diagrams of the augmented buffers for dynamic rivers in Region II, see Augmented Buffers -- Type II-A and II-B sample diagrams.ppt
  • Allowing for harvest of valuable, individual trees within buffers when it can be done without harming fish habitat or water quality. Harvest within buffers requires agency approval.
  • Setting standards to prevent erosion into waterbodies.
  • Requiring reforestation on all forest ownerships except where the land will be converted to another use, or where the harvest area is significantly composed of dead or dying trees.

Best management practices

Regulations (PDF) adopted under 11 AAC 95 also establish best management practices for road construction and maintenance, and for timber harvesting. These standards are designed to prevent adverse impacts to fish habitat and water quality from timber operations.

The Division of Forestry has published a booklet called Implementing Best Management Practices for Timber Harvest Operations (PDF) that is used to ensure compliance with the Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations.

Adopted Regulations Changes: Effective June 8, 2007

The Department of Natural Resources adopted and amended regulations in Title 11 of the Alaska Administrative Code, dealing with forest practices in riparian areas in Region II (Southcentral Alaska). These amendments include regulations associated with a new stream classification system under the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act for Region II [AS 41.17.116, AS 41.17.118, and AS 41.17.119]. The regulations changes are the culmination of a three-year process of the Region II Science and Technical Committee, Implementation Group, and Board of Forestry. Other changes to Title 11 created guidelines for winter roads and clarified the regulations.

Regions and applicability

Alaska is divided into three forest practices regions. Region I covers coastal forests from Southeast Alaska through Prince William Sound, the eastern Kenai Peninsula, the Kodiak Archipelago, and parts of the Alaska Peninsula. Region II is the boreal forest south of the Alaska Range. Region III is the boreal forest in Interior Alaska. Standards for riparian management and reforestation vary by region.

The FRPA applies to commercial timber operations on forestland, including harvesting, roading, site preparation, thinning, and slash treatment operations on forestland. Operations must comply with the FRPA if they are larger than 10 acres in Region I or larger than 40 acres in Region II. In Region III, it applies to operations larger than 40 acres for forest landowners that own more than 160 acres in total. All commercial harvest operations that encompass or border surface waters or a riparian area also must comply with the Act, regardless of their size.

Alaska Forest Resources & Practices Regions Map (PDF)

Stream Classification and Riparian Standards: Summary Table of Statutes and Regulations (PDF)

Region II Riparian Standards Review (PDF)

Region II Forest Resources & Practices Riparian Management Annotated Bibliography, July 2004

Region II Science and Technical Committee-Stream Classification System and Recommended Buffers May 26, 2004 (PDF)

Region III Forest Resources & Practices Riparian Management Annotated, August 2000

Monitoring the Implementation and Effectiveness of the Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA)

The Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations contain the best management practices (BMPs) that guide timber harvest on state, municipal, private, and trust lands. The Board of Forestry, the state resource agencies, and the timber industry coordinate monitoring of the Act and regulations [11 AAC 95.830].

Monitoring includes compliance monitoring to ensure that the BMPs are properly and thoroughly implemented on the ground. Effectiveness monitoring assesses whether the BMPs adequately protect fish habitat and water quality if they are implemented properly. Briefing papers on these efforts follow:

A decade of systematic compliance monitoring and extensive road conditions surveys demonstrate that forest operations have an excellent record of FRPA implementation. Monitoring has identified few problems, and where compliance is insufficient, the agencies and landowners have responded with training and remediation to fix the problems.

The effectiveness monitoring studies to date indicate that the BMPs are protecting fish habitat and water quality from adverse impacts of forest operations in Southeast Alaska where the majority of harvesting has occurred. Additional monitoring is needed in southcentral and interior Alaska. The Division of Forestry continues to coordinate with other agencies, landowners, and researchers through the Effectiveness Monitoring Working Group to prioritize monitoring needs.


Forest Road Condition Survey on the forest road system within the Kenai Peninsula Borough

An overview of the 20-year study on Status and Trends of Fish Habitat Conditions is available at the following link.

The Division of Forestry has compiled two publications summarizing relevant research and effectiveness monitoring that are available at the following links.

For more detailed information on FRPA monitoring, please see the list of scientific publications that follow.

  • Davis, J.C, and G.A. Davis. 2009. FRPA Region II effectiveness monitoring. Unpublished report prepared for Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation. 77 pp.

  • Martin, D. J. 2010. Status and trends of fish habitat condition on private timberlands in Southeast Alaska: 2009 summary. Report of Martin Environmental to Sealaska Corporation and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Juneau, Alaska. Alaska Clean Water Action Grant No: 10-06.

  • Martin, D. J., and R. A. Grotefendt. 2007. Stand mortality in buffer strips and the supply of woody debris to streams in Southeast Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37(1):36-49.

  • Martin Environmental. 2004. The effectiveness of riparian buffer zones for the protection of water quality and fish habitat in Michael Creek. Report prepared for Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Juneau, AK.

  • Mauger, S. 2006. Water quality concerns on lower Kenai Peninsula's salmon streams: temperature, turbidity, and phosphorum. Final report 2005-2006. Homer Soil & Water Conservation District and Cook Inletkeeper. 38 pp.

  • Milner, A. M. 1996. Data analysis and summary of the use of rapid bioassessment metrics to evaluate the use of a partial buffer zone in timber harvest in a Lake Florence watershed, Admiralty Island. Report prepared for Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Juneau, AK.

  • Ott, R. A., A.K. Ambourn, F. Keirn, and A.E. Arians. 2005. Relevant literature for an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act: An annotated bibliography. Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. 327 pp.

  • Rinella, Daniel. 2003. Monitoring to evaluate partial-buffer timber harvest after 9 Years Michael Creek, Admiralty Island, Alaska. Report prepared for Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Juneau, AK.

  • Rollerson, T., and McGourlick, K. 2001. Riparian windthrow, northern Vancouver Island. In Proceedings of the Windthrow Researchers Workshop, Windthrow Assessment and Management in British Columbia, 31 January - 1 February, 2001, Vancouver B.C. Edited by S. Mitchell and J. Rodney. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. pp. 139-156.

Contact Information

For more information on forest practices on state, municipal, Trust or private land, contact:

Alaska Division of Forestry - State Land
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1450
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3566

USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry - Federal Land
3301 C Street, Suite 202
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Acts, Regulations and Practices

The Department of Natural Resources provides these documents as a public courtesy. The department cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of these reproductions. For the official published versions, please refer to the Alaska Statutes and Regulations

Forest Practices Fieldbooks

Landslides and Forest Practices

From 2007-2013, under direction of the Board of Forestry, the Division of Forestry conducted a review of Forest Resources and Practices standards to avoid or minimize impacts of mass wasting on forest resources. This process included a Science & Technical Committee (S&TC) review of the geographic extent of potential landslide risks to public safety in areas open to commercial timber harvesting under the Alaska Forest Resources & Practices Act. The S&TC produced scoping maps showing areas with potential for landslides in proximity to public roads or populated areas, compiled an annotated bibliography of relevant references, and forwarded recommendations for regulatory changes to the Board of Forestry. The Board reviewed the S& TC recommendations and forwarded them to an Implementation Group of public and private stakeholders. The Board reviewed the recommendations from the Group and directed the Division of Forestry to adopt the unanimous recommendations in regulation. Regulations implementing the recommendations were adopted and went into effect on September 25, 2013.

The following document compiles information on this process. It covers the work of the Board of Forestry, Science & Technical Committee (S&TC), and Implementation Group, including copies of the scoping maps and the bibliography. It also includes the updated regulations that implement the recommendations from this process.

Separate copies of the scoping maps, a description of the model used to prepare the scoping maps, and the bibliography are also available at the following links.

For more information, contact Marty Freeman, DNR Division of Forestry, 269-8467 or

Reforestation Standards Review - Regions II and III

Under the direction of the Board of Forestry, the departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Game are reviewing the Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA) standards for reforestation in interior and southcentral Alaska (Regions II and III) to determine whether changes to the standards are necessary to ensure adequate reforestation after timber harvesting. The first step in this review is to convene a Science and Technical Committee (S&TC) to review existing scientific information on reforestation and review the current standards. The committee will begin meeting in April 2014.

The committee will provide scientifically-based recommendations for updates to the reforestation standards to the Alaska Board of Forestry. The Board of Forestry will review the recommendations and determine whether to proceed. If the Board endorses the recommendations, we will then form an Implementation Group to draft statutes and regulations to determine how to implement the scientific recommendations in a practical and effective manner. The Implementation Group will be a stakeholders group with representatives of the state resource agencies, forest landowners, and other affected interests.

If you would like to be on the mailing list for further information about this process, please contact one of the S&TC co-chairs:

Marty Freeman
DNR Division of Forestry
550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1450
Anchorage, AK 99501

Jim Durst
ADF&G Habitat Division
1300 College Road
Fairbanks, AK 99701

Implementation Group documents

Science and Technical Committee documents

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