There are over 736 million acres of forest land in the United States. The single largest holder of forested land is the US Forest Service. Many other forest lands are administered by state and county governments or owned by private citizens and corporations.
These lands provide water, fish and wildlife habitat, esthetic value, and recreational opportunities. Production of high quality water is a major benefit of forest lands; about two-thirds of the Nation's runoff comes from forest areas. These lands also provide a source of timber for harvesting. To properly manage these lands for multiple uses, best management practices for timber harvesting have been established. Best Management Practices or BMPs (discussed below) are generally developed by the States and are designed to help landowners, foresters, loggers, and others protect water quality during all stages of forestry. This includes preharvest planning, streamside and wetland area management, road construction and maintenance, timber harvesting, revegetation, and chemical management.