The United States Forest Service: Protecting America’s Forests for Future Generations

The United States Forest Service: Protecting America's Forests for Future Generations

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, which yields a wide range of benefits, including timber, grazing, water, recreation, wildlife habitat, and more.

In addition to its role in managing the nation’s forests, the U.S. Forest Service also plays a key role in natural resource management and conservation. The agency conducts research and provides technical assistance on a variety of topics, including forest health, invasive species, and climate change. Its work helps to inform policy decisions and drive sustainable land management practices.

The U.S. Forest Service is also responsible for promoting the sustainable use of forest resources and supporting local economies. In many rural communities, forests provide opportunities for jobs and economic growth through activities such as logging, recreation, and tourism. The agency works with local communities to develop and implement forest management plans that balance economic, social, and ecological needs.

Beans the Magical Vegetable–and Protein

Beans have become a staple in plantings across the United States, particularly in the American West. Also called legumes, beans are a type of vegetable that provide a valuable source of protein. They are known for their wide variety of types and flavors, ranging from small lentils to large lima beans.

When it comes to beans, there’s something for everyone. From black beans to pinto beans, you can always find a bean variety that suits your taste. Some popular beans include kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, and black-eyed peas.

In the Southwest, beans have a rich cultural history and are an essential part of many traditional dishes. For example, in the famous Southwestern dish called chili, beans are a key ingredient. Beans can also be used to make delicious veggie burgers, providing a healthy and tasty alternative to standard meat burgers.

Beans belong to the legume subgroup, which also includes peanuts, lentils, and soybeans. These legumes have a special ability to fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in their roots. This makes them an important crop for soil health and fertility.

In the eastern United States, a different legume called the groundnut, or Apios americana, can be found. This legume has a unique taste and texture and was once a staple food for Native American tribes.

When it comes to beans, it’s important to learn about the different types and their cooking properties. For example, some beans need to be soaked before cooking, while others can be cooked directly. Some beans, like fava beans, may even be toxic if not prepared properly. Always follow cooking instructions to ensure you enjoy beans safely.

Beans are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be added to soups, stews, salads, and even desserts. In fact, beans can be used to make a popular sweet treat called bean pie.

Whether you choose to grow beans in your garden or buy them at the local farmstand or market, you can’t go wrong with these nutritious and delicious legumes. So next time you’re planning your meals, don’t forget to count beans as a healthy and protein-packed option!

Did you know that beans are also considered a pulse? Pulses are a subgroup of legumes that are harvested solely for their dry grain. They are a rich source of protein and have been grown by people for thousands of years. Beans and other pulse crops are still an important part of our dietary needs today.

So whether you enjoy them in a summer salad or a hearty winter stew, beans are a magical vegetable that not only taste great but also provide essential nutrients for our health and well-being.

Black Bean Burgers

In the United States, black beans are a popular choice for making vegetarian burgers. Typically, black bean burgers are made from cooked black beans that have been mashed and mixed with various ingredients such as bread crumbs, onion, garlic, and spices. The mixture is then formed into patties and cooked on a grill or in a frying pan.

Black beans are a type of legume that belongs to the subgroups of pulses. They are native to the Americas and have been an important food staple in the region for centuries. Black beans are known for their rich flavor and high nutritional value, as they are packed with protein, fiber, and essential minerals. They are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against diseases.

Black beans are typically sold in their dried form, which needs to be soaked and cooked before consuming. However, canned black beans are also widely available and are a convenient option for those who don’t have time to soak and cook dried beans.

When cooked, black beans have a creamy texture and a mild, earthy flavor. They can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, salads, and of course, black bean burgers. Black bean burgers are a great alternative to meat burgers for vegetarians or those looking to reduce their meat consumption.

To make black bean burgers, you can start by rinsing and draining a can of black beans. Mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher until they are well mashed but still have some texture. In a separate bowl, mix together bread crumbs, onion, garlic, spices, and any other ingredients you like, such as corn or bell peppers. Add the mashed beans to the bowl and mix everything together until well combined.

Form the mixture into patties and cook them on a greased grill or frying pan for about 5-8 minutes per side, or until they are browned and heated through. You can serve the black bean burgers on buns with your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, and condiments like ketchup or mayo.

Black bean burgers are not only delicious and satisfying, but they are also a healthy and nutritious option. They are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, which can help promote a healthy digestive system and keep you feeling full for longer. Plus, they are a great way to incorporate more plant-based proteins into your diet.

So next time you’re looking for a tasty and nutritious meatless meal option, give black bean burgers a try. They are easy to make, versatile, and a great way to enjoy the goodness of black beans in a delicious and satisfying way.


  • United States Department of Agriculture:
  • The American Pulse Association:
  • Various online recipes and cooking guides


  • The U.S. Forest Service has a variety of ingredients in its “kitchen” for managing forests. One of these ingredients is the mesquite tree, a native plant that is commonly found in the southwest. Mesquite trees are known for their black bean pods, which can be used to make a tasty vegetable.
  • Another ingredient is the cucurbit family, which includes plants like cucumbers and squashes. The Forest Service often plants varieties of peas from the phaseolus family, such as black-eyed peas and purple hull peas.
  • Groundnut, also known as earthnut or wild bean, is a native food source that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is mostly grown in the southern states and is a staple in the diets of many Native American tribes.
  • In the southwestern part of the United States, the Forest Service often plants guar, a type of legume that is used in the production of cosmetics, textiles, and health products.
  • The Forest Service also plants pole beans, which are a type of bean that grow on long vines. These beans are commonly used in cooking and can be found in both green and dried forms.
  • In addition to these ingredients, the Forest Service also works with other organizations to promote the consumption of beans and other legumes. At conferences and workshops, they educate people about the health benefits of these foods and provide recipes for cooking them.
  • While there are many types of beans grown in the United States, the most common are the bush-types and the shell-bean types. The bush-types are typically grown for eating as green beans, while the shell-bean types are grown for their mature seeds.
  • There are many different cultural groups in the United States, and each group has their own preferences when it comes to beans. Some people prefer to eat them baked, while others like to eat them in soups or stews.
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a company that specializes in vegetable and flower seeds, has been providing high-quality seed to the Forest Service for many years. Their seeds have always produced excellent yields, and the Forest Service is grateful for their support.

Acknowledgements: The U.S. Forest Service would like to thank all the individuals and organizations who have contributed to the success of their ingredient management program. Their hard work and dedication have helped to ensure the health and sustainability of our nation’s forests.

✿ Read More About Vegetables.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.