What are Idaho’s forest designations?

Who owns the land determines how it is used

Forests are defined by their productivity and use. 

Forest lands

Forest lands are where at least 10% of the land is covered by trees.  The chart highlights the percent ownership of forestlands in Idaho.



Timberland is productive forest land that can grow commercial-grade timber.  The chart highlights the percent of ownership of timberlands in Idaho, 


Reserved forest lands

There are also Reserved Forest Lands which are forestlands and, in some cases, timberlands designated for special uses and where timber harvests are not allowed.  These lands include wilderness areas and roadless areas

Reserved forests include wilderness areas, which are designated by Congress. The Wilderness Act of 1964 identifies wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  There are over 4 million acres of designated Wilderness in Idaho including 3.8 million acres of forest land.


Reserved forests also include roadless areas owned by the federal government and managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Roadless forests are forest lands or timberlands that have been identified as Roadless during an inventory process ranging from large areas without existing road that have wilderness characteristics to small tracts of land that are adjacent to wilderness areas, parks and other restricted use areas. In 2001, the Roadless Rule effectively prohibited road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvest on inventoried “Roadless” lands. In 2008, the Idaho Roadless Rule established management direction for 9.3 million acres of “Roadless” areas including an estimated 7.6 million acres of forestland.  An undocumented amount of this is productive timberland that is effectively reserved from timber harvest. 

The chart  below highlight the percent of total USFS forest lands including roadless. 

The chart below highlight the percent of total USFS timberlands including roadless. 


Ownership by use designation data in million of ACRES 

This table shows ownership by use in millions of acres, including USFS non-roadless and roadless lands

      Forest Land   Timberland Reserved Forest Land Other Forest Land
NFS - NON-Roadless (Estimated)     8,709   4,751 3,682 276
NFS - Roadless (Estimated)     7,600   7,200 - 400
NFS TOTAL     16,309   11,951 3,682 676
Bureau of Land Managment     875   577 18 280
State of Idaho     1,245   1,123 12 110
Private Land Owners     3,060   2,856 - 204
Other Federal Owners     100   25 58 17
TOTAL     21,589   16,532 3,771 1,287
Check - NFS     0   - 0 -
Millions of ACRES