National Forest Management Act of 1976

The final result of the congressional hearings was passage of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA) on November 22, 1976, as an amendment to the Resources Planning Act of 1974. This replaced much of the wording in the Organic Act of 1897. While the new law did not authorize clearcutting in all locations, it did require additional studies be made before any harvesting methods were employed. Implementation regulations, however, were finalized three years later after extensive work by a Committee of Scientists.

Implementing the NFMA act on the national forests has involved smaller clearcuts than before, more "shaping" of the harvest units to be more "pleasing to the eye," and extensive testing of different methods of harvesting. Partial cutting, group selection, and selective harvesting methods were tried and found to be quite effective in many locations, especially where forest sites were hot and dry.