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Tribal Forest Protection Act

The Tribal Forest Protection Act 

Planted trees in a row
Photo credit: Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science.

The Tribal Forest Protection Act (TFPA) allows federally recognized tribes to propose projects to be conducted on Forest Service land to reduce threats to adjacent tribal lands, trust resources, and values. Tribal values can be ecological, cultural or archaeological, and the tribe proposing a TFPA project must specify how taking action on Forest Service lands will reduce risks to those values.

Under the TFPA, Tribes and the Forest Service have engaged in mutually beneficial, cross-boundary work to improve forest and grassland conditions, protect tribal lands and communities from risks, and restore trust assets within the National Forest System.

Recently, this partnership has taken on an important new role - working together to chart a path implementing new authorities granted to the Forest Service, and an outcomes-based "Shared Stewardship" strategy for active management.

      -Forest Service and Intertribal Timber Council Joint Statement  

Forest Service Tribal Relations

The Tribal Forest Protection Act is supported by Forest Service initiatives such as the Tribal Action Plan and Memorandum of Understanding protecting tribal treaty and reserved rights, which seek to:

  • strengthen tribal relationships, 
  • fulfill trust and treaty obligations, 
  • enhance co-stewardship, 
  • and better integrate indigenous considerations into land management decisions. 

Professional Training

In 2022, the Northern Forests Climate Hub helped organize a webinar series to facilitate greater collaboration between Tribal Nations and associated National Forests.

  • TFPA administration basics and climate adaptation

    Webinar 1: Learn about Tribal Forest Protection Act administration basics and information on climate adaptation

    Webinar slide deck

  • TFPA Panel discussion from National Forests and Tribes

    Webinar 2: Panel discussion from National Forests and Tribes sharing real-world experiences and lessons learned from the TFPA

Additional Webinars

The Tribal Forest Protection Act YouTube channel has videos on fundamentals, grants and agreements, interviews, and a four part TFPA and 638 shared stewardship workshop.

The Intertribal Forest Council's resource library includes many webinars covering authorities, collaborative planning, and contracts and agreements.

Additional Resources

Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu provides Tribal focused approaches and strategies for climate adaptation

Best practices guide to execute a TFPA/638 agreement shares eligibility information, requirements, and templates.

General TFPA frequently asked questions covers fundamentals, implementation, and funding.

2020 638 Authority Webinar Questions and Answers contains fourteen pages of Q&A on National Environmental Policy, Endangered Species Act , National Historic Preservation Act, definitions and eligibility, in direct costs, pilot projects, funding and more.

Partnership Agreement Matrix explores several ways in which Tribes can engage in work with the Forest Service. Options are classified by project type, partner requests, trust land adjacency, and other criteria which will affect the decision to pursue any given agreement tool.

TFPA resource library contains reports, webinars, and implementation guides and templates.

Forest Service TFPA/638 Page provides links to the joint statement between the Intertribal Timber Council and the Forest Service regarding 638 and a video recording of the first 638 agreement being signed. 

In partnership

This webinar series was the result of contributions from many organizations, including the Tribal Adaptation Menu author team, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Intertribal Timber Council, US Forest Service, and USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub.

Funding was provided by Forest Service Research & Development, through the Northern Research Station

  • Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu

    Guiding principles for collaborating with tribes and a list of climate adaptation actions written from an indigenous perspective.

  • Forest Adaptation Menu

    An extensive collection of climate change adaptation actions for forest ecosystem management.

  • Tribal Nations

    Visit the National Climate Hub Tribal Nations site.