Forest Practices

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.

Purpose

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 Effectiveness of the Forest Resources and Practices Act

The Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations contain the best management practices (BMPs) that guide timber harvest on state and private lands, including Native lands. While the Alaska Division of Forestry already administers several programs that monitor compliance with the Act, another key component to the Forest Practices Act is monitoring the effectiveness of the Act [AS 41.17.047(d)]. How well does the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act protect waterbodies and wildlife habitat?

The Alaska Division of Forestry compiled a summary report in 2003 (see link, below) to provide a brief overview of effectiveness monitoring studies conducted with respect to activities under the current Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA). The report identifies gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness of the Act. It does not contain a review of the broad literature on riparian management, nor does it contain information on studies done with respect to federal best management practices for national forest land.

Summary of Monitoring Studies of the Effectiveness of Practices under the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act, 1990-2002

An interagency group convened to prioritize future research on FRPA effectiveness agreed that one of the priorities was a more extensive review of relevant literature. While the summary report (above) includes research designed to evaluate FRPA standards and best management practices, many other studies have been conducted in Alaska and elsewhere that are relevant to effectiveness monitoring of FRPA. The following bibliography includes sources that provide a more complete picture of research and monitoring relevant to FRPA effectiveness across the state. The bibliography includes research and monitoring reports from Alaska and elsewhere that will help address the effectiveness of FRPA in protecting fish habitat and water quality. The bibliography will be used to help target future monitoring efforts to the most significant gaps in information and the greatest risk for impacts to water quality and fish habitat.

Relevant Literature for an Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act: An Annotated Bibliography

Download entire document (PDF, 1.5 MB)

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
907-269-8473

USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry - Federal Land
3301 C Street, Suite 202
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
907-743-9461

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 marty.freeman@alaska.gov



Reforestation in 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
marty.freeman@alaska.gov
907-269-8467

Jim Durst
ADF&G Habitat Division
1300 College Road
Fairbanks, AK 99701
james.durst@alaska.gov
907-459-7254


Science & Technical Committee documents



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