Activities occurring in and around forests impact the forest environment in many different ways. A main focus of these guidelines is the quality of the water flowing from forest lands. Because the reduction in water quality from forest activities can't be seen flowing from a pipe but is spread across the land, the term nonpoint source pollution (NPS) is used. Overall, forestry practices are a very minor NPS pollution contributor. Forests have long been recognized as the best protector of watersheds. The fact that other land uses contribute more to total pollution, although true, is not important. Improvement of water quality requires reduction of NPS pollution from all sources--including forestry.

Additionally, these guidelines consider worker safety, aesthetics, and forest productivity concerns.

Logging has the greatest impact of the typical forestry activities. The use of best management practices (BMPs) by loggers, landowners and land managers offers the greatest potential to reduce NPS and reach water quality and other forest health goals. This online guidebook summarizes BMPs for logging and forestry practices. It's a guide for everyone involved in logging and forestry activities.

Organization of this Guidebook

This guide does not contain all the specifics and background of each BMP. To do so would require many more pages. The BMP's contained in the guide are arranged to fall logically in the sequence of a logging operation and are followed by non-logging BMP's. See the Index for a list of topics.


These guidelines for logging and forestry best management practices represent the cooperative effort of representatives from logging, sawmilling, forestry, environmental, university, and regulatory agencies and interests. This guidebook was compiled by the Forest Practices Working Group, a group organized by the Indiana Woodland Steward Institute under a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. These funds were matched by forest industry and conservation organizations and public agency contributions. The guidebook was edited by Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and published by the Division of Forestry, Indiana Department of Natural Resources. This is a substantial achievement of the forest community in Indiana and serves as a model for other land uses. It is hoped that others will undertake similar approaches to control soil erosion and non-point source pollution.