Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage
Are tree cutting and planting allowed in wilderness?
Timber harvest is not allowed in wilderness. Trees and shrubs may be cut for valid mining claims; under emergency conditions such as fire, insect, and disease control; and in the construction and maintenance of authorized improvements, such as trails or bridges, when the necessary material needed to build the improvement cannot be reasonably obtained elsewhere. In the latter case, the cutting is done away from trails or campsites and the evidence of cutting removed as much as possible. Dead and downed material can be cut by wilderness visitors for campfires in most wildernesses, subject to local restrictions. Planting or seeding is allowed only in rare instances to correct conditions caused by human activities or for emergency situations when natural revegetation is insufficient. Native and local species are required and primitive methods, such as hand planting, are generally used. Only true native species or species that pose no threat to the existing gene pool should be used for emergency rehabilitation. Often a temporary species that will quickly give way to natives without hybridizing is the best way to protect wilderness values and unique gene resources in emergency rehabilitation situations.