Forest Reserve Act Law and Legal Definition

The Forest Reserve Act of 1891 is a law that allowed the U.S. President to set aside lands as national forests. The law preserves water resources until forested lands can be opened for settlement and exploitation, but is part of a growing conservation movement to preserve natural resources for future generations.

The Forest Reserve Act had mixed purposes:

a. to protect watersheds from erosion and flooding; and

b. to preserve the nation's timber supply from over-exploitation.