Randy Moore will be the first African American chief of the U.S. Forest Service, a 116-year-old agency that oversees 600 million acres of forestland.
Moore will take over for current chief Vicki Christiansen, who has led the agency since 2018, after she steps down late next month.
Since 2007, Moore has led the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, made up of 18 national forests in California, and he also oversees state and private forestry programs in Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
He has also previously led the agency’s Eastern Region.
In a statement announcing the promotion, Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE, whose department oversees the Forest Service, praised Moore's work on conservation and dealing with wildfires.
“Randy Moore has been a catalyst for change and creativity in carrying out the Forest Service’s mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations,” Vilsack said.
“In his role as Regional Forester, Randy has been a conservation leader on the forefront of climate change, most notably leading the Region’s response to the dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires in California over the last decade,” he added.
In addition to the 600 million acres of forest the agency is charged with stewarding, it also manages 193 million acres of public lands in 43 states and Puerto Rico.