The national forests were set aside to provide a continuous supply of timber and water for productive use. National Forest timber harvest peaked in 1987 when harvest provided about 17 percent of U.S. timber production.
During the peak of timber harvest for the Forest Service, more than half the annual timber growth was harvested and used for timber products, the mortality rate was about 32 percent. In 2007 only 12 percent of national forest growing stock was removed from the forest and mortality increased to 57 percent.
More and more national forest timber is left in the forest where insects and disease are taking hold. The result is lower valued timber and increased wildfire.