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Report to Congressional Requesters:

October 2003:

FOREST SERVICE:

Information on Appeals and Litigation Involving Fuels Reduction 
Activities:

GAO-04-52:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-04-52, a report to congressional requesters 

Why GAO Did This Study:

The federal fire community’s decades old policy of suppressing 
wildland fires as soon as possible has caused a dangerous increase in 
vegetation density in our nation’s forests. This density increase 
combined with severe drought over much of the United States has 
created a significant threat of catastrophic wildfires. In response to 
this threat, the Forest Service performs activities to reduce the 
buildup of brush, small trees, and other vegetation on national forest 
land. With the increased threat of catastrophic wildland fires, there 
have been concerns about delays in implementing activities to reduce 
these “forest fuels.” Essentially, these concerns focus on the extent 
to which public appeals and litigation of Forest Service decisions to 
implement forest fuels reduction activities unnecessarily delay 
efforts to reduce fuels. 

The Forest Service does not keep a national database on the number of 
forest fuels reduction activities that are appealed or litigated. 
Accordingly, GAO was asked to develop this information for fiscal 
years 2001 and 2002. Among other things, GAO was asked to determine 
(1) the number of decisions involving fuels reduction activities and 
the number of acres affected, (2) the number of decisions that were 
appealed and/or litigated and the number of acres affected, (3) the 
outcomes of appealed and/or litigated decisions, and (4) the number of 
appeals that were processed within prescribed time frames. 

What GAO Found:

In a GAO survey of all national forests, forest managers reported the 
following:

* In fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 818 decisions involved fuels 
reduction activities covering 4.8 million acres. 

* Of the 818 decisions involving fuels reduction activities, about 24 
percent were appealed—affecting 954,000 acres. However, of the 818 
decisions, more than half, 486 decisions, could not be appealed 
because they involved activities with little or no environmental 
impact. Of the 332 appealable decisions, 194 (about 58 percent) were 
appealed. There can be multiple appeals per decision. In addition, 25 
decisions (3 percent) affecting about 111,000 acres were litigated.

* For 73 percent of the appealed decisions, the Forest Service allowed 
the fuels reduction activities to be implemented without changes; 8 
percent required some changes before being implemented; and about 19 
percent could not be implemented. Of the 25 litigated decisions, 19 
have been resolved. 

* About 79 percent of appeals were processed within the prescribed 90-
day time frame. Of the remaining 21 percent, the processing times 
ranged from 91 days to 240 days.

The Forest Service, in commenting on a draft of this report, generally 
agreed with the report’s contents. Their specific comments and our 
evaluation of them are provided in the report.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-52.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click 
on the link above. For more information, contact Barry T. Hill at 
(202) 512-9775 or hillbt@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents:

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

The Number of Decisions Involving Forest Fuels Reduction Activities and 
the Number of Acres Affected: 

The Number of Decisions Involving Forest Fuels Reduction Activities 
Appealed and Litigated and the Amount of Acreage Affected: 

Outcomes of Appealed and Litigated Decisions and the Identities of 
Appellants and Plaintiffs: 

The Number of Decisions That Were Processed Within Prescribed Time 
Frames: 

The Types of Fuels Reduction Treatment Methods Identified in the 
Decisions, the Acreage Affected, and How Frequently These Decisions 
Were Appealed: 

Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities 
and How Frequently Decisions Involving the Contract Types Were 
Appealed:

Number of Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in the Wildland-
Urban Interface and Inventoried Roadless Areas and How Frequently the 
Decisions Were Appealed: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendixes:

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Decisions and Acres, by Forest Service Region: 

Appendix III: Forest Service Appeals and Litigation of Decisions with 
Fuels Reduction Activities, by Forest Service Region: 

Appendix IV: Appeal Outcomes for Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region: 

Appendix V: Litigation Outcomes for Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region: 

Appendix VI: List of Appellants and Litigants for Each Forest Service 
Region: 

Appellants, by Region: 

Litigants, by Region: 

Appendix VII: Appeal Processing Time Frames for Decisions with Fuels 
Reduction Activities, by Region: 

Appendix VIII: Fuels Reduction Methods and Appeals, by Forest Service 
Region: 

Appendix IX: Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities and How Frequently They Were Appealed, by Region: 

Appendix X: Decisions in Wildland-Urban Interface and Inventoried 
Roadless Areas: 

Appendix XI: Survey Questions to National Forests: 

Appendix XII: Comments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and Acreage Affected, 
by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 2: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities That Were Appealed 
and Acreage Affected, by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 3: Litigated Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and Acreage 
Affected, by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 4: Summary of Possible Decision Outcomes and Factors That Can Lead 
to the Outcomes: 

Table 5: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and the Acreage 
Affected, by Treatment Methods, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 6: Analysis of Appeal Rates, by Type of Fuels Reduction Treatment 
Method, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 7: Analysis of Acreage Affected by Appeals for Each Type of Fuels 
Reduction Treatment Method, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 8: Analysis of Appeal Rates by Each Type of Contracting Mechanism, 
Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Table 9: Litigation Outcomes, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 
2001 and 2002: 

Table 10: List of Appellants, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 
2001 and 2002: 

Table 11: Interest Groups and Private Individuals Appearing as 
Litigants, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Lands Managed by the Forest Service, by Region: 

Figure 2: National Environmental Policy Act Process: 

Figure 3: Frequency of Appeal Outcomes and Dispositions: 

Figure 4: Forest Service Appeals Process, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figure 5: Members of Fire Crew Igniting a Prescribed Burn with Drip 
Torches: 

Figure 6: Prescribed Fire Being Used for Fuels Reduction: 

Figure 7: Bulldozer Piling Thinned Trees (Machine Piling): 

Figure 8: Use of Chain Saw to Mechanically Thin Trees: 

Figure 9: Frequency of Service, Timber Sale, and Stewardship Contracts 
Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002: 

Figure 10: Wildland-Urban Interface Area: 

Figure 11: Inventoried Roadless Area: 

Figure 12: Total Decisions and Acres, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal 
Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figure 13: Appeal Rates and Litigation, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal 
Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figure 14: Outcomes of Appeals of Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figure 15: Appeal Processing Time Frames for Decisions with Fuels 
Reduction Activities, by Region: 

Figure 16: Treatment Methods and Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002: 

Figure 17: Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities and How Frequently Decisions Involving the Contract Types 
Were Appealed, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002: 

Figure 18: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in the Wildland-
Urban Interface and Frequency of Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002: 

Figure 19: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in Inventoried 
Roadless Areas and Frequency of Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002: 

Letter October 24, 2003:

Congressional Requesters:

Human activities--especially the federal government's decades-old 
policy of suppressing all wildland fires--have resulted in dangerous 
accumulations of brush, small trees, and other vegetation on federal 
lands. This vegetation has increasingly provided fuel for large, 
intense wildland fires, particularly in the dry, interior western 
United States.

The scale and intensity of the fires in the 2000 wildland fire season 
made it one of the worst in 50 years. That season capped a decade 
characterized by dramatic increases in the number of wildland fires and 
the costs of suppressing them. These fires have also posed special 
risks to communities in the wildland-urban interface--where human 
development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildland--as well as 
to watersheds and other resources, such as threatened and endangered 
species, clean water, and clean air.

The centerpiece of the federal response to the growing threat of 
wildland fires has been the development of the National Fire Plan. This 
plan, jointly developed by the Department of Agriculture and the 
Department of the Interior, advocates a new approach to wildland fires 
by shifting emphasis from the reactive to the proactive--from 
attempting to suppress wildland fires to reducing the buildup of 
hazardous vegetation that fuels fires. The plan recognizes that unless 
these fuels are reduced, the number of severe wildland fires and the 
costs associated with suppressing them will continue to increase. 
Implementation of the National Fire Plan began in fiscal year 2001; 
full implementation of the plan is expected to be a long-term, 
multibillion-dollar effort.

Reducing the buildup of hazardous forest fuels is typically 
accomplished through a number of treatment methods. Most often, federal 
land managers use controlled fires (prescribed burns) or mechanical 
treatments such as chainsaws, chippers, mulchers, and bulldozers. Other 
means of reducing fuels buildup include using livestock grazing and 
herbicides. On federal lands, these activities are managed by five 
agencies--the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs--all within 
Interior, and the Forest Service within Agriculture.

The first year that the National Fire Plan was in effect, the Congress 
substantially increased funding for hazardous forest fuels reduction 
for both the Forest Service and Interior agencies--from $117 million in 
fiscal year 2000 to $400 million in fiscal year 2001. The Congress 
continued this increased funding level for 2002 and 2003. Since the 
National Fire Plan began emphasizing the need to reduce forest fuels 
buildup and the Congress began to support this initiative with 
substantially increased funding, questions have been raised about 
whether the agencies' ability to implement forest fuels reduction 
activities is being unnecessarily delayed by administrative appeals and 
litigation of its land management decisions. Concerns have focused on 
the Forest Service, which, among the federal agencies involved in 
implementing the National Fire Plan, receives, by far, the largest 
portion of the funding--over 50 percent in fiscal years 2001 and 2002. 
Further, the scope of the Forest Service fuels reduction needs is much 
broader than those of the other federal agencies. Under current rules, 
members of the public are permitted to appeal and/or litigate the 
implementation of Forest Service decisions within certain prescribed 
time frames and under certain circumstances.

In this context, you asked us to develop national data on Forest 
Service fuels reduction activities. Specifically, for fiscal years 2001 
and 2002, you asked us to determine (1) the number of decisions 
involving fuels reduction activities and the number of acres affected; 
(2) the number of decisions that were appealed and/or litigated and the 
number of acres affected; (3) the outcomes of the appealed and/or 
litigated decisions and the identities of the appellants and 
plaintiffs; (4) the number of appeals that were processed within the 
prescribed time frames; (5) the types of fuels reduction treatment 
methods identified in the decisions, the acreage affected, and how 
frequently these decisions were appealed; (6) the types of contracts 
used for implementing fuels reduction activities and how frequently 
decisions, including each type of contract, were appealed; and (7) the 
number of decisions involving fuels reduction activities in the 
wildland-urban interface and inventoried roadless areas[Footnote 1] and 
how frequently these decisions were appealed. In addition to providing 
the national data in response to each objective, you also asked us to 
provide regional data. This letter provides the national data. The 
regional breakdown for the seven objectives is shown in appendixes II 
through X.

In conducting our review, we used a Web-based survey of all 155 
national forests[Footnote 2]. The survey focused on all Forest Service 
decisions with fuels reduction activities that were issued in fiscal 
years 2001 and 2002. We obtained a 100 percent response rate from the 
national forests. We also tested the accuracy and reliability of the 
information provided in the responses and found that the information 
was generally reliable. Appendix I provides details on the scope and 
methodology of our review.

When we provided you with preliminary information on the results of our 
survey on May 14, 2003, we had not yet completed our data reliability 
checks.[Footnote 3] Accordingly, we noted in that interim report that 
some of the information could change in our final report. In fact, now 
that our reliability checks have been completed, some of the 
information provided in our interim report has changed slightly. 
However, the relationships among the numbers have not materially 
changed. In our interim report, we also noted certain other limitations 
that still apply. Specifically, the survey information is self-
reported. Accordingly, we were not able to independently ensure that 
all decisions were reported. In addition, the Forest Service does not 
have a common definition of "fuels reduction activities." As a result, 
if the Forest Service documentation explicitly stated that the purpose 
of an activity was fuels reduction, we included it; if the 
documentation did not include an explicit discussion of fuels reduction 
activities, we did not include the decision in our analysis. Finally, 
the Forest Service does not have a uniformly applied definition of the 
"wildland-urban interface." Consequently, individual forests may have 
their own definition or no definition at all, which could result in 
inconsistent data.

Results in Brief:

In brief, the national forest managers reported the following:

* In fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 818 Forest Service land management 
decisions involved fuels reduction activities. These decisions covered 
4.8 million acres. Most decisions involved routine activities that had 
little or no environmental impact.

* Of the 818 decisions involving fuels reduction activities, about 24 
percent were appealed--affecting over 954,000 acres of fuels 
treatments. However, of the 818 decisions, more than half (486 
decisions) are excluded from the appeals process because they involved 
activities with little or no environmental impact. Of the 332 
appealable decisions, 194 were appealed--about 58 percent of the 
appealable decisions. A decision can be appealed multiple times. In 
addition, 25 decisions (about 3 percent) affecting about 111,000 acres 
were litigated.

* For 73 percent of the appealed decisions, the Forest Service allowed 
the activities to be implemented without changes; 8 percent were 
allowed to be implemented with some changes; and about 19 percent were 
not allowed to be implemented. Of the 25 decisions that were litigated, 
19 have been resolved and 6 are ongoing. The parties settled 5 
decisions, 9 were decided in favor of the plaintiffs, and 5 were 
decided in favor of the Forest Service. Most of the appellants and 
plaintiffs were interest groups.

* About 79 percent of all appeals were processed within the prescribed 
90-day time frame. Of the remaining 21 percent, the processing times 
ranged from 91 days to 240 days.

* Of the 4.8 million acres that were treated or planned to be treated, 
prescribed burning was used on 3.2 million acres, and mechanical 
treatments were to be used on 0.8 million acres. The forest managers 
also reported using other methods, mostly firewood removal, on 1 
million acres. Because the same acreage can be treated by more than one 
method, the sum is greater than the total acreage treated or planned 
for treatment. Decisions involving prescribed burning and mechanical 
treatment activities were appealed at about the same rate.

* The Forest Service generally used three types of contracts to carry 
out fuels reduction activities--service contracts, timber sale 
contracts, and stewardship contracts. Service contracts are awarded to 
contractors by the Forest Service to perform specific tasks to reduce 
forest fuels, such as thinning trees or clearing underbrush. The Forest 
Service awards timber sale contracts to individuals or companies to 
harvest and remove trees from federal lands under its jurisdiction. 
Stewardship contracts are essentially a combination of service and 
timber sale contracts aimed at conducting on-the-ground restoration and 
enhancement of landscapes with public and private entities. Service 
contracts are the most frequent contracting mechanisms used--356 of the 
818 decisions. Decisions using timber sale contracts and stewardship 
contracts are the most frequently appealed.

* There were 462 decisions involving fuels reduction activities in the 
wildland-urban interface. Of these, 169 decisions were appealable and 
89 decisions were appealed--53 percent of the appealable decisions and 
19 percent of all decisions. Seventy-six decisions involved fuels 
reduction activities in inventoried roadless areas. Of these 76 
decisions, 41 were appealable and 26 were appealed--63 percent of the 
appealable decisions and 34 percent of all decisions.

We received comments from the Forest Service on a draft of this report. 
The Forest Service generally agreed with the report's contents. The 
agency provided us with clarifying and technical comments that we 
incorporated into the report as appropriate. Comments from the Forest 
Service are reproduced in appendix XII.

Background:

The 2000 and 2002 wildland fire seasons proved to be two of the worst 
in over 50 years. During the 2000 fire season, almost 123,000 fires 
burned more than 8.4 million acres and cost the federal government over 
$1.3 billion. In 2002, almost 89,000 fires burned about 7 million 
acres, an area larger than the states of Maryland and Rhode Island 
combined. For decades, the federal wildland fire community pursued a 
policy of suppressing all fires as soon as possible. Over the years, 
suppressing fire in areas where it naturally occurred has caused an 
increase in the volume of brush, small trees, and other vegetation. The 
increase in such "forest fuels," combined with a severe drought in much 
of the nation over the past few years, has increased the severity of 
wildland fires. The result in some instances has been catastrophic. In 
2002, the Rodeo-Chediski fire in Arizona, the Hayman fire in Colorado, 
and the Biscuit fire in Oregon and California became the largest fires 
in those states in more than a century.

To deal with this threat, the administration asked the Forest Service 
and Interior to recommend how best to respond and how to reduce the 
impacts of such fires in the future. The resulting report and the 
associated implementation documents became known as the National Fire 
Plan. This blueprint recommended that the Congress substantially 
increase funding for several key activities, such as suppressing 
wildland fires and reducing the buildup of unwanted hazardous forest 
fuels. Of the federal agencies involved with helping to reduce the 
threat posed by wildland fires, the Forest Service is by far the most 
significant in terms of the broad range of forest activities that it is 
responsible for and the public attention it receives. Compared with the 
other federal land management agencies in fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 
the Forest Service received more than half of all funding provided for 
forest fuels reduction activities. For these fiscal years, the Congress 
provided the Forest Service with $414 million for reducing hazardous 
fuels--the other land management agencies received $381 million 
combined.

The Forest Service is responsible for managing over 192 million acres 
of public lands--nearly 9 percent of the nation's total surface area 
and about 30 percent of all federal lands in the United States. In 
carrying out its responsibilities, the Forest Service traditionally has 
administered its programs through nine regional offices, 155 national 
forests, 20 grasslands, and over 600 ranger districts (each forest has 
several districts). Figure 1 shows a map of the national forests and 
Forest Service regions.

Figure 1: Lands Managed by the Forest Service, by Region:

[See PDF for image]

Note: The Forest Service does not have a region 7.

[End of figure]

The National Environmental Policy Act requires the Forest Service, and 
all other federal agencies, to assess and report on the likely 
environmental impacts of any land management activities they propose 
that significantly impact environmental quality. For example, certain 
proposed Forest Service activities, such as fuels reduction projects, 
timber sales, and grazing allotments, may require such environmental 
analysis and reporting. More specifically, if a proposed activity is 
expected to significantly impact the environment, the Forest Service is 
required to prepare an environmental impact statement. If, however, a 
proposed activity is unlikely to have a significant effect on the 
environment, the Forest Service is not required to prepare an 
environmental impact statement--such activities are classified as 
categorical exclusions. When the Forest Service is not sure whether an 
activity will have a significant impact on the environment, the agency 
prepares an intermediate-level analysis called an environmental 
assessment. If an environmental assessment determines that the activity 
will significantly affect the environment, the Forest Service prepares 
an environmental impact statement. (See fig. 2).

Figure 2: National Environmental Policy Act Process:

[See PDF for image]

Note: See U.S. General Accounting Office, Forest Service Decision-
Making: A Framework for Improving Performance, [Hyperlink, http://
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/RCED-97-71] GAO/RCED-97-71 (Washington, 
D.C.: April 1997).

[End of figure]

Under certain circumstances, the public has a right to administratively 
appeal Forest Service decisions.[Footnote 4] These appeals must be 
evaluated by the Forest Service within prescribed time frames and could 
result in decisions being reversed and the associated land management 
activities being substantially revised or even cancelled. Generally, 
the public can appeal decisions associated with environmental impact 
statements or environmental assessments. Decisions associated with 
categorical exclusions are generally not appealable. Further, as a 
general rule, once the administrative appeals process is complete, the 
public can litigate any decision, including categorical exclusions, in 
federal court.

Controversy has surrounded this issue for some time. On the one hand, 
critics have asserted that administrative appeals and litigation are 
stopping or unnecessarily slowing the decision-making processes of the 
Forest Service and their efforts to reduce forest fuels on federal 
lands. They expressed the view that many appeals are "frivolous" and 
brought for the purpose of frustrating, rather than improving, land 
management actions, and that they greatly increase the costs of 
managing the national forests. Supporters of the current process, on 
the other hand, have responded that appeals have not been excessive or 
unwarranted, that few appeals are frivolous, and that the current 
process for handling appeals is adequate. Supporters further assert 
that the Congress intended the federal land management process to 
include administrative reviews of agency decisions to (1) ensure public 
participation in the decision-making process and (2) ensure that agency 
managers adequately consider the various factors and policies impacting 
the environmental health of the nation's lands.

Recent administrative rule changes and legislative proposals modify or 
would modify the current appeals process and exempt certain projects 
from the process. In August 2002, the administration announced the 
Healthy Forest Initiative, which has been controversial as well; some 
regarding it as an effort to reduce unnecessary red tape and needless 
delays and others considering it a tool to increase logging activity. 
The initiative is intended to help reduce the threat of catastrophic 
wildfires and improve the health of the national forests by, among 
other things, streamlining the planning and appeals processes. In 
particular, recent administrative rule changes modify the appeal 
procedures and establish new categorical exclusions for certain fuels 
reduction projects. The Congress is also considering legislation to, 
among other things, exempt certain fuels reduction activities from the 
existing appeal requirements. The bill would require the Secretary of 
Agriculture to issue regulations establishing a separate administrative 
process to address disputes concerning these projects.

The debate surrounding the Healthy Forest Initiative centers on the 
extent and frequency of appeals and litigation of fuels reduction 
activities. However, because the Forest Service does not have a 
national database to track both its decisions involving forest fuels 
reduction activities and the extent to which they were appealed or 
litigated, we were asked to develop this information. The information 
in this report provides these data for fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

The Number of Decisions Involving Forest Fuels Reduction Activities and 
the Number of Acres Affected:

For fiscal years 2001 and 2002, the national forest managers reported 
that there were 818 decisions involving forest fuels reduction 
activities. These decisions affected almost 4.8 million acres of 
national forest land. Most of these decisions were excluded from 
detailed environmental impact analysis because the Forest Service 
determined that they had little or no significant impact on the land.

Number of Decisions:

Of the 818 decisions involving forest fuels reduction activities, the 
forest managers reported that 52 of the decisions (about 6 percent) 
were expected to have significant environmental impacts, thus requiring 
the preparation of environmental impact statements. About 280 of the 
decisions (about 34 percent) initially had the potential for some 
environmental impact and required the preparation of environmental 
assessments. All of the remaining decisions (486 or about 59 percent) 
involved activities that had no or only minor environmental impacts 
and, as such, were categorically excluded from documentation in an 
environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

In reporting these data, it is important to emphasize that the Forest 
Service does not have a uniform definition of a fuels reduction 
activity. The lack of a uniform definition is an important limitation 
because it could affect the consistency of the data reported to us by 
the national forests in terms of which activities are identified as 
fuels reduction projects. Accordingly, if the supporting Forest Service 
decision documents explicitly stated that the purpose of the activities 
was fuels reduction, we accepted the decision. However, if the decision 
documents did not include an explicit discussion of fuels reduction, we 
did not accept the decision. Many activities have the practical effect 
of reducing forest fuels, but the purpose may be for something other 
than fuels reduction. For example, a tree thinning activity may reduce 
fuels, but the stated purpose of the project may be to treat an insect 
infestation. If so, fuels reduction would not be a designated purpose 
of the activity, and the decision was not included in our analysis. In 
addition, a commercial timber harvest will reduce fuels by removing 
trees, but the stated purpose may be commodity production. If so, the 
decision was not included in our analysis. If the commercial timber 
sale or thinning activities included a stated purpose of reducing 
fuels, the decision was included in our analysis.

Amount of Acreage Affected:

The forest fuels reduction decisions for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 
covered almost 4.8 million acres of national forest land. Of the 4.8 
million acres, the forest managers reported that 0.3 million acres 
(about 7 percent) involved activities that were expected to have 
significant environmental impacts, thus requiring the preparation of 
environmental impact statements. About 1.5 million acres (about 31 
percent) involved activities that initially had the potential for some 
environmental impact and required the preparation of environmental 
assessments. All of the remaining acreage (3.0 million or about 62 
percent) involved activities that had no or only minor environmental 
impacts and, as such, were categorically excluded from preparation of a 
detailed environmental impact analysis.

There are a few limitations to the acreage data. The 4.8 million acres 
does not correspond to the number of acres actually treated in fiscal 
years 2001 and 2002. Once a decision is made and documented, there are 
many reasons that activities covered by decision may be delayed or not 
implemented, including funding availability, personnel availability, 
weather conditions, and administrative appeals or litigation. In 
addition, the national forests may have submitted more than one 
decision with activities on the same area of land. Therefore, the 4.8 
million acres may include overlapping acreage. Further, the national 
forest managers reported decisions involving personal firewood 
activities, including one large project from the Tonto National Forest 
in Arizona that could potentially skew the acreage data. Under the 
personal firewood program, forest managers designate areas where the 
public can obtain a wood cutting permit and gather firewood for 
personal use. Forest managers can identify all of the acreage available 
for firewood removal under this program as fuels reduction activities. 
However, it is possible that the public may collect only firewood that 
is easily accessible, such as near roads and trails, rather than 
covering the entire designated area. One decision from the Tonto 
National Forest in Arizona designates 1 million acres as eligible for 
firewood removal. These 1 million acres are 21 percent of the total 
acreage reported as treated or planned to be treated for fuels 
reduction activities for all national forests. According to Forest 
Service officials, it is unlikely that the public will remove fuels 
from all 1 million acres.

Table 1 shows the number of decisions with forest fuels reduction 
activities, the amount of acreage affected, and their environmental 
impact significance.

Table 1: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and Acreage 
Affected, by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Decisions/Acres: Number of decisions; Little or no environmental impact 
(categorical exclusions)[A]: 486; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[B]: 280; Significant environmental impact 
(environmental impact statements): 52; Total[C]: 818.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage of total decisions; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 59; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 34; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 6; Total[C]: 
99.

Decisions/Acres: Number of acres (in thousands); Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 2,989; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 1,489; 
Significant environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 
315; Total[C]: 4,793.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage of total acres; Little or no environmental 
impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 62; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[B]: 31; Significant environmental impact 
(environmental impact statements): 7; Total[C]: 100.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] One activity covered by a categorical exclusion treats 
approximately 1 million acres under an annual program to allow private 
individuals to collect firewood.

[B] Although the forest managers analyzed the proposed activities in an 
environmental assessment because the expected environmental impacts 
were uncertain or potentially significant, in every case, the result of 
the environmental assessment was a determination that the proposed 
activities had no significant impact on the environment.

[C] Percentage totals may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

[End of table]

Appendix II provides a summary of the number of decisions and the 
acreage affected for each of the nine Forest Service regions.

The Number of Decisions Involving Forest Fuels Reduction Activities 
Appealed and Litigated and the Amount of Acreage Affected:

Of the 818 decisions involving forest fuels reduction activities, 24 
percent were appealed. However, more than half were not subject to 
appeal because they were categorically excluded from documentation in 
an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment. Overall, 
of the 818 total decisions, 332 were appealable because they had 
environmental impacts that were either uncertain or significant and 
required the preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement. Of these 194 (58 percent) were 
appealed. These appealed decisions affected about 950,000 acres. In 
addition, 25 decisions (about 3 percent of all decisions) were 
litigated. The litigated decisions affected about 111,000 acres.

Number of Decisions and Amount of Acreage Appealed:

In fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 486 (59 percent) of all decision 
involving fuels reduction activities were not subject to 
appeal.[Footnote 5] The remaining 332 decisions involved forest fuels 
reduction activities that were generally more controversial because 
they were expected to have significant environmental impact or 
initially had the potential for significant environmental impacts. Of 
the 332 appealable decisions, 194 were appealed affecting over 950,000 
acres. Table 2 summarizes the number of decisions appealed by decision 
type and the number of acres affected.

Table 2: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities That Were Appealed 
and Acreage Affected, by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Decisions/Acres: Number of decisions; Little or no environmental impact 
(categorical exclusions)[A]: 486; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[B]: 280; Significant environmental impact 
(environmental impact statements): 52; Total for all decisions: 818; 
Total for appealable decisions[A]: 332.

Decisions/Acres: Number of appealed decisions; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 3; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 146; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 48; Total for 
all decisions: 197; Total for appealable decisions[A]: 194.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage of decisions appealed; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: <1; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 52; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 92; Total for 
all decisions: 24; Total for appealable decisions[A]: 58.

Decisions/Acres: Acreage (in thousands); Little or no environmental 
impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 2,989; Uncertain environmental 
impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 1,489; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 315; Total for 
all decisions: 4,793; Total for appealable decisions[A]: 1,804.

Decisions/Acres: Acreage appealed (in thousands); Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: 4; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 670; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 280; Total for 
all decisions: 954; Total for appealable decisions[A]: 950.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage of acreage appealed; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions)[A]: <1; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[B]: 45; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 89; Total for 
all decisions: 20; Total for appealable decisions[A]: 53.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] Generally, only environmental assessments and environmental impact 
statements are appealable. Categorical exclusions are generally not 
appealable. However, there were three categorical exclusions reported 
to us that were appealed under a settlement agreement in a lawsuit.

[B] Although the forest managers analyzed the proposed activities in an 
environmental assessment because the expected environmental impacts 
were uncertain or potentially significant, in every case, the result of 
the environmental assessment was a determination that the proposed 
activities had no significant impact on the environment.

[End of table]

In reviewing the appeals data in table 2, it is important to point out 
that many types of land management activities may be analyzed and 
included as part of one decision. A single decision may include 
activities such as timber sales, road construction, grazing permits, 
and habitat improvement in addition to fuels reduction activities. As a 
result, when an appeal is pursued, it may or may not be based on 
concerns about fuels reduction activities. Under the Forest Service 
appeal regulations, the entire decision is appealed, not the individual 
activities. Therefore, the public may object to only one activity in a 
decision but all land management activities covered by the decision 
will be affected by an appeal. For example, a single decision may 
contain activities involving commercial thinning, prescribed burning, 
stream improvements, road construction, and a trail closure. An 
appellant may object to the road construction activity but not the 
forest thinning activities. However, all of the activities covered by a 
decision will be affected until the appeal is resolved.

There is no limit to the number of appeals that can be filed on an 
individual decision. In total, appellants filed 285 appeals on the 197 
appealed decisions. One hundred and thirty-four decisions had 1 appeal, 
48 decisions had 2 appeals, 10 decisions had 3 appeals, 3 decisions had 
4 appeals, 1 decision had 5 appeals, and 1 decision had 8 appeals.

Appendix III provides information on appeal rates for each Forest 
Service region.

Number of Litigated Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and 
Acreage Affected:

All decisions can be litigated. In fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 25 
decisions (about 3 percent) were litigated.[Footnote 6] These litigated 
decisions affected about 111,000 acres (about 2 percent). Not 
surprisingly, decisions with significant environmental impacts were 
litigated more often. Of the 52 decisions where the Forest Service was 
required to prepare environmental impact statements, 15 (29 percent) 
were litigated. Table 3 provides a summary of the decisions litigated 
and the acres affected by the litigation.

Table 3: Litigated Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and 
Acreage Affected, by Decision Type, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Decisions/Acres: Number of decisions; Little or no environmental impact 
(categorical exclusions): 486; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[A]: 280; Significant environmental impact 
(environmental impact statements): 52; Total: 818.

Decisions/Acres: Number of decisions litigated; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions): 0; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[A]: 10; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 15; Total: 25.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage litigated; Little or no environmental 
impact (categorical exclusions): 0; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[A]: 4; Significant environmental impact 
(environmental impact statements): 29; Total: 3.

Decisions/Acres: Acreage (in thousands); Little or no environmental 
impact (categorical exclusions): 2,989; Uncertain environmental impact 
(environmental assessments)[A]: 1,489; Significant environmental 
impact (environmental impact statements): 315; Total: 4,793.

Decisions/Acres: Acreage litigated (in thousands); Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions): 0; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[A]: 23; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 88; Total: 111.

Decisions/Acres: Percentage of acres litigated; Little or no 
environmental impact (categorical exclusions): 0; Uncertain 
environmental impact (environmental assessments)[A]: 2; Significant 
environmental impact (environmental impact statements): 28; Total: 2.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] Although the forest managers analyzed the proposed activities in an 
environmental assessment because the expected environmental impacts 
were uncertain or potentially significant, in every case, the result of 
the environmental assessment was a determination that the proposed 
activities had no significant impact on the environment.

[End of table]

Appendix III provides information on the number of litigated decisions, 
by Forest Service region.

Outcomes of Appealed and Litigated Decisions and the Identities of 
Appellants and Plaintiffs:

Of the 197 appealed decisions the Forest Service reviewed, 144 (about 
73 percent) were allowed to be implemented without any changes. 
However, the Forest Service did not allow 38 decisions (about 19 
percent) to be implemented. The Forest Service required the remaining 
15 decisions (about 8 percent) to be changed prior to implementation. 
Of the 25 litigated decisions, 19 have been resolved and 6 were still 
ongoing at the time of our review. Most of the appellants and 
plaintiffs were interest groups.

Outcomes of the Appeals and the Identities of Appellants:

Generally, appealed decisions have one of three outcomes. First, the 
Forest Service can allow a decision to be implemented without any 
changes. Second, the Forest Service can allow a decision to be 
implemented, but only if certain, specified changes are made. Third, 
the Forest Service can prevent a decision from being implemented. There 
are a variety of factors that can affect the disposition of an appeal 
and lead to these outcomes. Each of these factors is specified in 
Forest Service regulations. Some of these factors are procedural and 
have little or nothing to do with the merit of an appeal, and some are 
based on the merit of the appeal. Table 4 provides a brief summary of 
the three basic decision outcomes and an explanation of the factors 
that can lead to various appeal outcomes.

Table 4: Summary of Possible Decision Outcomes and Factors That Can 
Lead to the Outcomes:

Possible decision outcomes: Can be implemented without changes; Forest 
Service disposition of appeal: Decision affirmed; Explanation of Forest 
Service disposition terminology: Forest Service reviews the appeal and 
determines that the decision documents adequately address all legal 
requirements.

Forest Service disposition of appeal: Appeals dismissed; Explanation of 
Forest Service disposition terminology: Forest Service dismisses the 
appeal without review for procedural reasons, such as if the appeal was 
not filed within the allowed appeal period.

Forest Service disposition of appeal: Resolved informally, appeal 
withdraw; Explanation of Forest Service disposition terminology: Forest 
Service contacts appellants and offers to discuss resolution of the 
appeal. If resolved, the appellant withdraws the appeal.

Possible decision outcomes: Can be implemented with changes; Forest 
Service disposition of appeal: Affirmed with instructions; Explanation 
of Forest Service disposition terminology: Forest Service reviews 
appeal and requires certain changes to the decision on the basis of the 
appeal points. The decision can be implemented with specified changes.

Possible decision outcomes: Cannot be implemented; Forest Service 
disposition of appeal: Reversed; Explanation of Forest Service 
disposition terminology: Forest Service reviews the appeal and 
determines that the decision documents did not consider comments 
previously provided or comply with applicable law, regulation, or 
policy. Forest Service returns the decision to the national forest for 
further analysis or documentation.

Forest Service disposition of appeal: Resolved informally, decision 
withdrawn; Explanation of Forest Service disposition terminology: 
Forest Service contacts appellants and offers to discuss resolution of 
the appeal. If resolved, the Forest Service withdraws the decision.

Forest Service disposition of appeal: Decision withdrawn; Explanation 
of Forest Service disposition terminology: Forest Service withdraws the 
decision prior to the agency concluding the appeal review.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[End of table]

Figure 3 shows the disposition of each of the 197 appealed decisions 
for fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

Figure 3: Frequency of Appeal Outcomes and Dispositions:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Appendix IV provides a summary of the appeal outcomes, by region.

Under certain circumstances, members of the public, including private 
individuals and interest groups, can appeal decisions of Forest Service 
officers.[Footnote 7] A decision can be appealed multiple times and 
multiple appellants can be parties to an appeal. For example, the 
Little Blacktail Ecosystem Restoration Project Record of Decision 
issued in the Kaniksu National Forest in Idaho had three appeals; the 
Ecology Center, Lands Council, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, and 
Friends of the Pond joined in one appeal; the Alliance for the Wild 
Rockies filed another appeal; and a private individual filed the third 
appeal. In these instances, each interest group and the private 
individual counted as appellants--6 total appellants--even though they 
were appealing 1 decision and had filed 3 appeals. Due to these 
situations, there were 285 appeals on the 197 appealed decisions. The 
285 appeals had 559 appellants. The 559 appellants included 482 appeals 
by 85 different interest groups, mostly environmental groups, and 77 
appeals by 53 private individuals. Table 10 of appendix V lists each 
interest group that appeared as an appellant in fiscal years 2001 and 
2002 and the number times they appeared. Of the interest groups, 7 
appeared as appellants 20 or more times. These groups include the 
Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Ecology Center, Forest Conservation 
Council, Lands Council, National Forest Protection Alliance, Oregon 
Natural Resources Council, and Sierra Club.

Outcomes of Litigated Decisions and the Identities of Plaintiffs:

Following a final decision by the Forest Service on an appeal, members 
of the public, can file a lawsuit and seek a review of the decision 
from a federal district court. Plaintiffs are usually the same parties 
who previously appealed the decisions with the Forest Service. It may 
take weeks to years to resolve a case once a decision is litigated. Of 
the 25 litigated decisions, 6 were continuing at the time of our 
analysis. For the remaining 19 cases, lawsuits for 5 decisions were 
dismissed because the plaintiffs and the Forest Service agreed to 
settle their claims. District courts reached an outcome on the 14 
remaining decisions--9 decisions were decided favorably to the 
plaintiffs, and 5 decisions were decided favorably to the Forest 
Service. Both plaintiffs and the Forest Service have the option of 
appealing the decisions of the district court to the relevant federal 
court of appeals. We did not collect information on whether the 
decisions were appealed to a higher court.

Appendix V provides information on the outcomes of litigated decisions, 
by region.

Multiple plaintiffs can be parties to a lawsuit. Of the 25 litigated 
decisions, 26 different interest groups and one private individual were 
plaintiffs. The interest groups were primarily environmental groups. 
Five groups were plaintiffs in 4 or more decisions: the Ecology Center, 
Sierra Club, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Hell's Canyon 
Preservation Council, and Native Ecosystems Council.

Appendix VI provides a summary of the litigants, by Forest Service 
region.

The Number of Decisions That Were Processed Within Prescribed Time 
Frames:

Most of the appeals that occurred in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 were 
processed within the prescribed time frames. Specifically, of the 285 
appeals that were filed, about 79 percent were processed within the 
prescribed 90 days.

The applicable laws and regulations establish procedures for public 
notice of a decision and the time frames for appeal.[Footnote 8] Once 
the public is given notice of a decision, appellants have 45 days to 
file an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the Forest Service has 45 days 
from the close of the appeal period to determine the outcome of the 
appeal. In total, the Forest Service has up to 90 days to resolve an 
appeal once the agency notifies the public of a decision. While the 
agency is determining the disposition of an appeal, a Forest Service 
official is required to contact an appellant and offer to meet 
informally to dispose of the appeal. Figure 4 provides a flowchart 
showing the appeals process that applied during fiscal years 2001 and 
2002.[Footnote 9]

Figure 4: Forest Service Appeals Process, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Of the 285 appeals filed in fiscal years 2001 and 2002, 226 (79 
percent) were processed within 90 days of the date that the decisions 
were made and published. In contrast, 59 appeals (about 21 percent) 
were not processed within 90 days. For those appeals that were not 
processed within the 90-day limit, the appeal processing times ranged 
from 91 to 240 days, with a median processing time of 119 
days.[Footnote 10] The Forest Service offered several reasons for not 
processing the 59 appeals within the 45-day formal disposition period. 
These reasons included inadequate staffing, the unavailability of staff 
around the holiday season, and appeal backlog. We did not verify or 
analyze the support for the reasons that the Forest Service provided.

Further, to fully understand the appeals process, it is important to 
understand that under certain circumstances, appellants may have more 
than one opportunity to appeal a decision. Once a decision is reversed 
or withdrawn by the Forest Service as a result of an appeal, the agency 
can revise and reissue the decision. This is usually done to 
accommodate concerns that have been raised during an initial appeal. 
Moreover, the Forest Service also has the option of not reissuing the 
decision. In our analysis, 32 decisions had been reissued. Of those 
reissuances, 30 were appealed again and 2 were implemented without 
appeal. Once a decision is reissued, the permitted processing times for 
handling appeals begin again.

Appendix VII provides a summary of the appeals processing times for 
each Forest Service region.

The Types of Fuels Reduction Treatment Methods Identified in the 
Decisions, the Acreage Affected, and How Frequently These Decisions 
Were Appealed:

Reducing the buildup of vegetation that fuels severe fires requires 
vegetation management, or fuels reduction. There are four basic fuels 
treatment methods. These are prescribed burning, mechanical thinning, 
the application of chemicals/herbicides, and grazing. Prescribed 
burning is the most frequently used method to reduce the accumulation 
of dangerous fuels on forested acres. Decisions involving the two main 
types of fuels treatment methods, prescribed burning and mechanical 
treatment, were appealed at about the same rate.

Frequency of Use and Scope of Treatment Methods:

A prescribed fire is one that is intentionally ignited to meet specific 
land management objectives. In addition to reducing the risk of 
wildfires, prescribed fires also are used to prepare areas for 
reforestation or to improve wildlife habitat. How and when a prescribed 
fire can be successfully conducted is influenced by many conditions, 
such as the type and moisture levels of vegetation, topography, 
temperature, wind speed, and humidity. All of these factors are to be 
considered and documented by fire management personnel prior to 
initiating a prescribed burn. Figures 5 and 6 show examples of a 
prescribed burn.

Figure 5: Members of Fire Crew Igniting a Prescribed Burn with Drip 
Torches:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Figure 6: Prescribed Fire Being Used for Fuels Reduction:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Prescribed burning was the most frequently used fuels treatment method 
during fiscal years 2001 and 2002--in terms of both the number of 
decisions that included prescribed burning activities and the number of 
acres affected. Of the 818 decisions with fuels reduction activities, 
570 (about 70 percent) included prescribed burns. Of the total 4.8 
million acres covered by all decisions, 3.2 million acres (about 67 
percent) had been or were to be treated using this method.

There is a range of mechanical treatments that can be used to reduce 
forest fuels. Harvesting timber and removing smaller noncommercial 
trees and brush can accomplish fuels reduction. In addition, thinning 
stands of trees to reduce competition for light, moisture, and 
nutrients may improve forest health. Mechanical thinning is typically 
done using power equipment, such as bulldozers, chain saws, chippers, 
and mulchers. Figures 7 and 8 show examples of mechanical thinning 
projects.

Figure 7: Bulldozer Piling Thinned Trees (Machine Piling):

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Figure 8: Use of Chain Saw to Mechanically Thin Trees:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Mechanical thinning is the second most utilized method for reducing 
forest fuels. Of the 818 decisions with fuels reduction activities, 491 
(about 60 percent) included mechanical treatment methods. These 
treatments involved 0.8 million acres--about 17 percent of all the 
acreage treated or planned for treatment in fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

Chemical treatments are herbicides used to control and remove the 
hazardous buildup of forest vegetation. Herbicides are usually applied 
as liquids mixed with water or oil and then sprayed on the soil surface 
to be absorbed by the plant roots. Generally, there are four methods of 
applying herbicides: (1) aerial application, using helicopters or other 
aircraft; (2) mechanical equipment, using truck-mounted or truck-towed 
wand or broom sprayers; (3) backpack equipment, generally a pressurized 
container with an agitation device; and (4) hand application by 
injection, daubing cut surfaces, or application of granular 
formulations to the soil.

Grazing animals, such as cattle and goats, can also be used to reduce 
the buildup of hazardous forest fuels. However, grazing is less 
utilized because it is increasingly competing with other uses of public 
lands, such as recreation, wildlife habitat, riparian management, 
endangered species management, mining, hunting, cultural resource 
protection, wilderness, and a wide variety of other uses.

Chemical treatments and grazing are the least utilized treatment 
methods. Of the 818 fuels reduction decisions reported, 3 (less than 1 
percent) included chemical/herbicide treatments, and 2 (less than 1 
percent) included grazing. These two types of treatment methods 
affected about 700 acres--less than 1 percent of the total acres 
treated or planned for treatment in fiscal years 2001 and 
2002.[Footnote 11]

In addition to the four basic hazardous fuels treatment methods, there 
are other methods that are sometimes used. These other methods include 
activities such as cutting underbrush by hand or the public's removal 
of firewood by hand. One hundred and twelve (14 percent) of all fuels 
reduction decisions in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 included these other 
kinds of treatments. However, while the use of the other methods was 
relatively infrequent, the amount of acreage affected was considerable-
-mostly due to the 1 million acre personal fire wood removal program 
from the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. There are two important 
points that need to be highlighted regarding this fire wood removal 
program. First, while the project covers 1 million acres, it does not 
necessarily mean that firewood will be removed from all of these acres. 
It simply means that these acres are available for the removal of 
firewood. Accordingly, the extent of fuels reduction on these acres is 
not clear. It is possible that the number of acres actually reported 
for the project can be significantly overstated. Second, even though 
officials at the Tonto National Forest reported this as part of the 
forest fuels reduction program, Forest Service headquarters officials 
questioned the merit of including it in our report because they 
believed it skewed the data by increasing the amount of acreage having 
fuels reduction activities. In the final analysis, we reported this 
project as a fuels reduction activity because the Tonto forest 
officials identified it as such in their decision documents. Table 5 
summarizes the fuels reduction methods used by the Forest Service in 
fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

Table 5: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities and the Acreage 
Affected, by Treatment Methods, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Treatment method: Prescribed burning; Number of decisions: 570; Number 
of acres[A] (in thousands): 3,189; Percentage of total decisions: 
70; Percentage of total acres: 67.

Treatment method: Mechanical; Number of decisions: 491; Number of 
acres[A] (in thousands): 808; Percentage of total decisions: 60; 
Percentage of total acres: 17.

Treatment method: Chemical/Herbicide; Number of decisions: 3; Number of 
acres[A] (in thousands): 0.4; Percentage of total decisions: <1; 
Percentage of total acres: <1.

Treatment method: Grazing[B]; Number of decisions: 2; Number of 
acres[A] (in thousands): 0.3; Percentage of total decisions: <1; 
Percentage of total acres: <1.

Treatment method: Other; Number of decisions: 112; Number of 
acres[A] (in thousands): 1,021; Percentage of total decisions: 14; 
Percentage of total acres: 21.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] One million acres in the other category is due to one decision 
involving an annual firewood removal program.

[B] One of the 2 decisions using grazing as a fuels treatment method 
did not report any associated acreage.

[End of table]

The columns in the table 5 do not add to the total number of decisions 
(818) or the total amount of acreage affected (4.8 million). This 
occurs for two reasons. First, a decision can include prescribed 
burning on some acreage and another treatment method on other acreage. 
Second, the same acreage can be treated by more than one method. For 
example, an area can be thinned using prescribed burning and then be 
further thinned using mechanical means. Forest managers reported that 
280 decisions with fuels reduction activities included acres treated or 
planned for treatment by both prescribed burning and mechanical 
methods.

Rate of Appeals for Each Type of Fuels Treatment Method:

Appeal rates for the two main types of treatments, prescribed burning 
and mechanical, were about the same. Appealable decisions with a 
mechanical treatment component were appealed about 64 percent of the 
time. Appealable decisions with prescribed burning activities were 
appealed at about the same rate--63 percent of the time. Similarly, 34 
percent of all decisions with mechanical treatment methods were 
appealed, and 29 percent of all decisions with prescribed burning 
activities were appealed. Table 6 provides a summary of the appeal 
rates for decisions with the different treatment methods.

Table 6: Analysis of Appeal Rates, by Type of Fuels Reduction Treatment 
Method, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Treatment method: Prescribed burning; Number of decisions[A]: 570; 
Number of appealable decisions[B]: 258; Number of appealed decisions: 
163; Appeal rate for all decisions (%): 29; Appeal rate for appealable 
decisions (%): 63.

Treatment method: Mechanical; Number of decisions[A]: 491; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 265; Number of appealed decisions: 169; Appeal 
rate for all decisions (%): 34; Appeal rate for appealable decisions 
(%): 64.

Treatment method: Chemical/Herbicide; Number of decisions[A]: 3; Number 
of appealable decisions[B]: 3; Number of appealed decisions: 2; Appeal 
rate for all decisions (%): 67; Appeal rate for appealable decisions 
(%): 67.

Treatment method: Grazing; Number of decisions[A]: 2; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 0; Number of appealed decisions: 0; Appeal 
rate for all decisions (%): 0; Appeal rate for appealable decisions 
(%): N/A.

Treatment method: Other; Number of decisions[A]: 112; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 51; Number of appealed decisions: 26; Appeal 
rate for all decisions (%): 23; Appeal rate for appealable decisions 
(%): 51.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] Because more than one treatment method can be used on the same 
decision, the numbers add to more than the total decisions (818).

[B] This column shows the number of decisions involving environmental 
assessments and environmental impact statements. Since categorical 
exclusions generally cannot be appealed, they are not included in this 
column.

[End of table]

An analysis of the data shown in table 7, on the basis of the amount of 
acreage affected, shows that decisions with prescribed burning covered 
the most acreage appealed.

Table 7: Analysis of Acreage Affected by Appeals for Each Type of Fuels 
Reduction Treatment Method, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Treatment method: Prescribed burning; Acreage for all decisions[A] (in 
thousands): 3,189; Acreage covered by appealable decisions[B] (in 
thousands): 1,484; Acreage covered by appealed decisions (in 
thousands): 758; Percentage of acreage affected for all decisions: 24; 
Percentage of acreage affected for appealable decisions: 51.

Treatment method: Mechanical; Acreage for all decisions[A] (in 
thousands): 808; Acreage covered by appealable decisions[B] (in 
thousands): 651; Acreage covered by appealed decisions (in 
thousands): 336; Percentage of acreage affected for all decisions: 42; 
Percentage of acreage affected for appealable decisions: 52.

Treatment method: Chemical/Herbicide; Acreage for all decisions[A] (in 
thousands): 0.4; Acreage covered by appealable decisions[B] (in 
thousands): 0.4; Acreage covered by appealed decisions (in thousands): 
0.3; Percentage of acreage affected for all decisions: 64; Percentage 
of acreage affected for appealable decisions: 64.

Treatment method: Grazing[C]; Acreage for all decisions[A] (in 
thousands): 0.3; Acreage covered by appealable decisions[B] (in 
thousands): 0; Acreage covered by appealed decisions (in thousands): 
0; Percentage of acreage affected for all decisions: 0; Percentage of 
acreage affected for appealable decisions: 0.

Treatment method: Other; Acreage for all decisions[A] (in thousands): 
1,021; Acreage covered by appealable decisions[B] (in thousands): 18; 
Acreage covered by appealed decisions (in thousands): 11; Percentage 
of acreage affected for all decisions: 1; Percentage of acreage 
affected for appealable decisions: 61.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] Because more than one treatment method can be used on the same 
acreage, the numbers add to more than the total amount of acreage 
treated or planned for treatment (4.8 million).

[B] This column shows the number of acres involving environmental 
assessments and environmental impact statements. Since categorical 
exclusions cannot be appealed, the acreage for these is not included in 
this column.

[C] One of the 2 decisions using grazing as a fuels treatment method 
did not report any associated acreage.

[End of table]

Appendix VIII provides data on treatment methods and appeal rates, by 
Forest Service region.

Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities 
and How Frequently Decisions Involving the Contract Types Were 
Appealed:

Typically, the Forest Service contracts with other organizations to 
carry out fuels reduction activities in the national forests. In doing 
this, the agency generally uses three types of contracting mechanisms-
-timber sale contracts, service contracts, and stewardship contracts. A 
decision can use more than one type of contract to carry out fuels 
reduction activities. The Forest Service awards timber sale contracts 
to individuals or companies to harvest and remove trees from federal 
lands under its jurisdiction. Service contracts are awarded to 
contractors by the Forest Service to perform specific tasks to reduce 
forest fuels, such as thinning trees or clearing underbrush. 
Stewardship contracts are used by the Forest Service to conduct on-the-
ground restoration and enhancement of landscapes with public and 
private entities. Service contracts are the most frequent contracting 
method used. Decisions using timber sale contracts and stewardship 
contracts are the most frequently appealed.

Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities:

Forest Service timber sale contracts set forth specific terms and 
provisions of a sale, including the estimated volume of timber to be 
removed, the time period of the removal, the price to be paid to the 
government, and the environmental protection measures to be taken. Of 
the 818 total fuels reduction decisions, 278 (34 percent) involved 
timber sale contracts.

The Forest Service also uses traditional service contracts to reduce 
the accumulation of fuel loads. Typically, a service contract 
identifies the tasks to be performed, such as removing and treating the 
unmarketable, cut materials. The cut materials affect the fuel loads 
and can be left as is, piled and burned, lopped and scattered to 
accelerate rotting, or removed from the site. Of the 818 total fuels 
reduction projects, 356 (44 percent) of the decisions involved service 
contracts.

Stewardship contracts use a combination of service contracts and timber 
sale contracts to care for national forest system land. In 1998, the 
Forest Service was given stewardship contracting authority so that the 
agency could work with private and public entities to achieve federal 
management goals. For example, this authority provided the Forest 
Service with the ability to trade goods for services (such as timber in 
exchange for road maintenance). A stewardship contract might include 
prescribed burning to improve wildlife habitat or reduce forest fuels 
in conjunction with the sale of forest products off the same piece of 
land. Of the 818 total fuels reduction decisions, 41 (5 percent) of the 
decisions involved stewardship contracts.[Footnote 12]

Figure 9 shows the frequency of service, timber sale, and stewardship 
contracts used in decisions with fuels reduction activities.

Figure 9: Frequency of Service, Timber Sale, and Stewardship Contracts 
Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

Note: More than one contract type can be used in one decision.

[End of figure]

The total number of decisions in figure 9 does not total 818 because 
there are also other means used to implement fuels reduction 
activities. Forest Service personnel are frequently used to perform the 
needed work. Typically, Forest Service personnel are used in 
conjunction with different contract types. Of the 818 decisions, 673 
(82 percent) involved some work by Forest Service personnel. Further, 
other means, such as contracts that utilize prison labor and contracts 
that collaborate with other federal agencies like the Bureau of Land 
Management, are also used to help reduce forest fuels. Eighty-three (10 
percent) of all 818 decisions with fuels reduction activities used 
these other mechanisms.

Appeal Rates for Decisions with Each Contracting Mechanism:

Decisions that are implemented through the use of timber sale contracts 
and stewardship contracts were the most frequently appealed. Because of 
the controversy that surrounds timber harvesting activities and their 
impact on the environment, it is not surprising that contracts for this 
type of activity would be scrutinized and challenged by the forest 
interest groups or other stakeholders.

Table 8: Analysis of Appeal Rates by Each Type of Contracting 
Mechanism, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Contract type: Timber sale; Number of decisions[A]: 278; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 244; Number of appealed decisions: 155; 
Percentage appealed for all decisions: 56; Percentage appealed for 
appealable decisions: 64.

Contract type: Service; Number of decisions[A]: 356; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 205; Number of appealed decisions: 123; 
Percentage appealed for all decisions: 35; Percentage appealed for 
appealable decisions: 60.

Contract type: Stewardship; Number of decisions[A]: 41; Number of 
appealable decisions[B]: 31; Number of appealed decisions: 23; 
Percentage appealed for all decisions: 56; Percentage appealed for 
appealable decisions: 74.


Source: GAO data and analysis.

[A] The total number of decisions is less than the 818 decisions 
reported because the other methods used for implementation are not 
included. In addition, more than one contact type can be used in one 
decision.

[B] These are the number of decisions involving environmental 
assessments and environmental impact statements. Since categorical 
exclusions generally cannot be appealed, they are not included in this 
column.

[End of table]

Appendix IX summarizes the contracting methods used and appeal rates, 
by Forest Service region.

Number of Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in the Wildland-
Urban Interface and Inventoried Roadless Areas and How Frequently the 
Decisions Were Appealed:

Two areas of particular interest on national forest land where fuels 
reduction activities can occur are in the wildland-urban interface and 
inventoried roadless areas. The wildland-urban interface areas are 
those areas where federal lands surround or are adjacent to human 
development and communities. In contrast, inventoried roadless areas 
are undeveloped areas with no or few roads. Fuels reduction activities 
occur more on wildland-urban interface areas than in inventoried 
roadless areas. Of the 818 decisions involving fuels reduction 
activities, 462 decisions had activities in the wildland-urban 
interface and 76 decisions had activities in inventoried roadless 
areas. Decisions with fuels reduction activities in the inventoried 
roadless areas are appealed more frequently.

Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in the Wildland-Urban 
Interface and Appeal Rates:

The Forest Service broadly defines the wildland-urban interface as 
areas where humans and their development meet or intermix with wildland 
forest fuels. There are three categories of communities that meet its 
definition: (1) an interface community exists where structures directly 
abut wildland fuels; (2) an intermix community exists where structures 
are scattered throughout a wildland area; and (3) an occluded community 
exists, often within a city, where structures abut an island of 
wildland fuels, such as a park or open space.[Footnote 13] Figure 10 
shows an example of a community in the wildland-urban interface.

Figure 10: Wildland-Urban Interface Area:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Individual forest managers may or may not use the definition of 
wildland-urban interface that the Forest Service provides. According to 
the information provided by the national forests in response to our 
survey, most forest managers reported that they used the Forest 
Service's definition or they developed their own definition. Other 
managers reported that they either did not have a definition or did not 
know if they had a definition. The inconsistent application of these 
definitions by forest managers should be considered when using the 
information reported about whether fuels reduction activities were in 
the wildland-urban interface. An August 2003 GAO report highlighted the 
fact that agencies need to define which lands are part of the wildland-
urban interface.[Footnote 14] Without doing so, the Forest Service will 
be constrained in its ability to prioritize locations for fuels 
reduction treatments and to allocate funding accordingly. We 
recommended in the August report that the Forest Service develop a 
consistent, specific definition of the wildland-urban interface so that 
detailed, comparable nationwide data could be collected to identify the 
amount and location of lands in the wildland-urban interface. 
Development of a consistent definition will facilitate the 
prioritization of fuels reduction treatments.

Of the 818 decisions with fuels reduction activities, the national 
forest managers reported 462 decisions (57 percent) had fuels reduction 
activities in the wildland-urban interface. Of these 462 decisions, 169 
were appealeable--that is, they were decisions analyzed in conjunction 
with environmental assessments or environmental impact statements. Of 
the 169 appealable decisions, 89 were appealed--that is, 53 percent of 
appealable decisions and 19 percent of all decisions with fuels 
reduction activities in the wildland-urban interface.

The 462 decisions covered 1.5 million acres--that is, 31 percent of the 
total acreage (4.8 million) for all reported fuels reduction 
activities.

Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in Inventoried Roadless Areas 
and Appeal Rates:

Inventoried roadless areas, as the name implies, are undeveloped areas 
generally without roads, which the Forest Service has specifically 
defined.[Footnote 15] The intent of the roadless designation is to 
conserve these natural areas by limiting road building and logging 
activities. Figure 11 shows an example of an inventoried roadless area 
on national forest land.

Figure 11: Inventoried Roadless Area:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

In contrast to the wildland-urban interface areas, roadless areas have 
specific boundaries, which make it much easier for forest managers to 
report on decisions with treatments in these areas. Of the 818 
decisions, the national forests reported 76 decisions--about 9 percent 
of all decisions--with fuels reduction activities in roadless areas. Of 
these 76 decisions, 41 were appealable and 26 were appealed--that is, 
34 percent of all decisions with treatments in roadless areas and 63 
percent of appealable decisions.

The 76 decisions covered 240,000 acres--about 5 percent of all acreage 
treated or planned for treatment in fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

Appendix X provides information on the number of decisions involving 
fuels reduction activities in the wildland-urban interface and 
inventoried roadless areas and the frequency of appeals for each Forest 
Service region.

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

We provided a draft of this report to the Forest Service for review and 
comment. The agency generally agreed with the information presented in 
the report. However, the agency did offer a few comments that it 
believed would help clarify some of this information. Specifically, the 
Forest Service believes that we should not have included information on 
a 1 million acre personal use firewood program at one forest because, 
in their opinion, doing so unnecessarily skews the data by increasing 
the amount of acreage with fuels reduction activities. We did not 
change the report to omit this information because, as the Forest 
Service agrees, it was reported and documented as a fuels reduction 
project by the agency. Nonetheless, to ensure clarity, we highlighted 
in the report the unique nature of the project, where appropriate.

The agency suggested that we highlight the fact that a single decision 
can be appealed multiple times, and that the Forest Service's workload 
increases accordingly. In its comments, the agency commented that we 
should provide additional information on that point in the body of the 
report to emphasize the impact of multiple appeals on the workload of 
the agency. We believe this point was already addressed in the body 
where we noted that there were 285 appeals on the 197 appealed 
decisions. In addition, we also provided a breakdown of the number of 
appeals per decision. Nonetheless, we did add language to the Results 
in Brief section of the report and the Highlights section, noting that 
decisions can be appealed multiple times.

The Forest Service also commented that because appeal rates vary widely 
throughout the nation, we should add language in the narrative 
regarding local perceptions of appeal rates and how they can differ 
from the national data. The agency noted that when local groups or 
individuals state that many projects are held up by appeals, they are 
more likely referring to their experience at the local level. We 
believe the information needed to discern regional differences was 
already presented in the report; therefore, we did not make changes to 
the report.

The Forest Service's written comments are presented in appendix XII.

:

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its 
contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 
30 days after the date of this letter. At that time, we will send 
copies to the Secretary of Agriculture, the Chief of the Forest 
Service, and other interested parties. We will make copies available to 
others upon request. This report will also be available on the GAO Web 
site at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-3841. Key contributors to this report were 
Cliff Fowler, Curtis Groves, Richard Johnson, Roy Judy, Nicole Shivers, 
Patrick Sigl, and Shana Wallace.


Signed by:

Barry T. Hill 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment:

List of Requesters:

The Honorable Jeff Bingaman 
Ranking Minority Member, 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Larry E. Craig 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Scott McInnis 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health 
Committee on Resources 
House of Representatives:

The Honorable Gordon Smith 
United States Senate:

[End of section]

Appendixes: 

[End of section]

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology:

The Forest Service does not maintain its own database on the number of 
decisions or appeals throughout the national forest system. 
Accordingly, to address each of the objectives, we had to develop a 
national database. To do this, we used a Web-based survey of all 155 
national forests. The survey focused on all Forest Service decisions in 
fiscal years 2001 and 2002 with a forest fuels reduction component, 
including those that were categorically excluded from preparation of an 
environmental impact statement, that were issued in fiscal years 2001 
and 2002.[Footnote 16] The specific information we needed to satisfy 
our objectives was located at several organizational levels--
headquarters, regional offices, individual forests, and district 
offices within each forest. For instance, information on the individual 
decisions, particularly the environmental impact statements and 
environmental assessments, was located at the forest-level. Information 
on categorical exclusions was primarily located only at the district 
offices. Our survey was addressed to forest supervisors. We asked 
forest supervisors to gather the necessary information from the other 
organizational units within the Forest Service, as needed, to complete 
the survey. We also asked each forest supervisor for a contact person 
at the forest who was familiar with the National Environmental Policy 
Act process requirements, since it guides land management decision-
making and planning activities. This contact person served as our focal 
point at each forest and was responsible for providing us with survey 
responses and addressing the follow-up questions and documents that we 
requested.

We developed a data collection instrument to obtain the relevant 
information. Appendix XI contains a copy of the instrument used to 
gather these data. To help us understand the decision-making and 
appeals and litigation processes and to help us formulate the questions 
for our survey instrument, we met with Forest Service personnel at 
headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the region 5 office in Vallejo, 
California; the Stanislaus and Tahoe National Forests in California; 
and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia. 
Once we developed the questions, we pretested the instrument at the 
Kootenai National Forest in Montana, the Payette and Boise National 
Forests in Idaho, and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

We gave the forests 3 weeks to respond to the survey and granted 
extensions as needed. We obtained a 100 percent response rate from the 
forest managers. We verified the accuracy of about 10 percent of the 
survey responses submitted. We used a random number to identify the 
first decision to be verified and then selected every 10th decision 
submitted by the forests. After selecting a decision, we obtained the 
supporting decision documents, National Environmental Policy Act 
documents, and appeals information from the forests and verified the 
information submitted for the randomly selected decisions. Using this 
approach, we verified 85 total decisions. Any discrepancies between the 
survey responses and our data verification were discussed and resolved 
with the responsible forest official. Through our data verification 
process, we determined that the data submitted were generally reliable.

In addition to our verification of the information supporting the 85 
randomly selected decisions, we also reviewed the data to determine 
whether there were any aberrations in the submitted data (e.g., 
illogical dates or inconsistent responses). We contacted the 
appropriate forest officials and corrected many aberrations in the 
data. As a result of our review and verification, we identified 42 
decisions that were eliminated from the information provided by the 
forest managers. These decisions were eliminated for a variety of 
reasons. For example, the decisions (1) were not issued within fiscal 
years 2001 and 2002 or (2) lacked clear documentation that the 
activities had a fuels reduction purpose.

There are some limitations to the data we gathered. As with any survey, 
the information obtained from the national forests was self-reported, 
and we were not able to independently ensure that all decisions were 
reported. In particular, we had no way to determine if forests were 
underreporting their activities. To get some indication of whether this 
might be occurring, we contacted eight environmental groups to review 
the decisions submitted by selected forests in order to determine if 
there was any indication that the forests were underreporting 
decisions.[Footnote 17] These groups did not identify any instances of 
underreporting.

We conducted our work from September 2002 through September 2003 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

[End of section]

Appendix II: Decisions and Acres, by Forest Service Region:

The Forest Service consists of nine regions. Figure 12 highlights the 
areas covered by each region. The Southern Region (region 8) had the 
largest number of decisions with fuels reduction activities (180 
decisions) with the largest planned acreage--2.1 million acres. The 
Alaska Region (region 10) listed the least number of decisions with 
fuels activities (2) and the least amount of acreage--1,408 acres. 
Figure 12 provides a summary of the number of decisions and acres 
planned in each Forest Service region.

Figure 12: Total Decisions and Acres, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal 
Years 2001 and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix III: Forest Service Appeals and Litigation of Decisions with 
Fuels Reduction Activities, by Forest Service Region:

Figure 13 summarizes the appeals and litigation information by each 
Forest Service region. The Northern Region (region 1) had the highest 
appeal rate for both all decisions and appealable decisions appealed. 
The Northern Region (region 1) had 48 percent of all decisions appealed 
and 90 percent of appealable decisions appealed. The Alaska Region 
(region 10) had no decisions appealed. The Southern Region (region 8) 
had the lowest appeal rates for regions with recorded appeals--7 
percent of all decisions and 36 percent of appealable decisions. The 
Northern Region (region 1) had the highest number of litigated 
decisions with 8. The Southwestern (region 3), Southern (region 8), and 
Alaska (region 10) Regions did not report any litigated decisions with 
fuels reduction activities.

Figure 13: Appeal Rates and Litigation, by Forest Service Region, 
Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix IV: Appeal Outcomes for Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region:

Figure 14 summarizes the appeal outcomes for decisions with fuels 
reduction activities by Forest Service region. All of the decisions in 
the Southern Region (region 8) were permitted to proceed without 
changes. The Eastern Region (region 9) had the lowest percentage of 
decisions that were allowed to proceed without changes--50 percent. The 
Southwestern Region (region 3) had the highest percentage of decisions 
that were not allowed to proceed due to appeals--38 percent.

Figure 14: Outcomes of Appeals of Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix V: Litigation Outcomes for Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities, by Forest Service Region:

Table 9 summarizes the number of litigated decisions and the outcomes 
for each Forest Service region. The Northern Region (region 1) had 8 
litigated decisions and 3 were settled or continuing. Of those decided, 
3 were in favor of plaintiffs and 2 were in favor of the Forest 
Service. The Pacific Northwest Region (region 6) had all 5 of its 
litigated decisions resolved--4 in favor of plaintiffs and 1 in favor 
of the Forest Service. Three regions--Southwestern (region 3), Southern 
(region 8), and Alaska (region 10)--had no decisions litigated.

Table 9: Litigation Outcomes, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 
2001 and 2002:

Region: Northern - Region 1; Number of litigated decisions: 8; 
Outcomes: 2 were continuing, 1 was settled, 3 were decided in favor the 
plaintiffs, 2 were decided in favor of the Forest Service.

Region: Rocky Mountain - Region 2; Number of litigated decisions: 1; 
Outcomes: Settled.

Region: Southwestern - Region 3; Number of litigated decisions: None; 
Outcomes: N/A.

Region: Intermountain - Region 4; Number of litigated decisions: 5; 
Outcomes: 1 was continuing, 2 were settled, 1 was decided in 
favor of the plaintiffs, 1 was decided in favor of the Forest Service.

Region: Pacific Southwest - Region 5; Number of litigated decisions: 5; 
Outcomes: 2 were continuing, 1 was settled, 1 was decided in 
favor of the plaintiffs, 1 was decided in favor of the Forest Service.

Region: Pacific Northwest - Region 6; Number of litigated decisions: 5; 
Outcomes: 4 were decided in favor of the plaintiffs, 1 was 
decided in favor of the Forest Service.

Region: Southern - Region 8; Number of litigated decisions: None; 
Outcomes: N/A.

Region: Eastern - Region 9; Number of litigated decisions: 1; 
Outcomes: Continuing.

Region: Alaska - Region 10; Number of litigated decisions: None; 
Outcomes: N/A.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

Note: Decisions may be subject to appeal to the applicable federal 
court of appeals.

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix VI: List of Appellants and Litigants for Each Forest Service 
Region:

Appellants, by Region:

Table 10 provides a list of appellants by Forest Service region. 
Interest groups were most active in the Forest Service's Northern 
(region 1), Pacific Southwest (region 5), and Pacific Northwest (region 
6) Regions. Private individuals were most active in the Rocky Mountain 
(region 2) and Pacific Southwest (region 5) Regions. Interest groups 
were the least active in the Alaska (region 10), Southern (region 8), 
and the Southwestern (region 3) Regions.

Table 10: List of Appellants, by Forest Service Region, Fiscal Years 
2001 and 2002:

Interest groups: 1. Interest groups: Alliance for the Wild Rockies; R-
1: 30; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 4; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 2; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 36.

Interest groups: 2. Interest groups: Ambiance Project; R-1: 1; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 3. Interest groups: American Lands Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
2; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 1; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 4. Interest groups: American Wildlands; R-1: 7; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 5. Interest groups: Ancient Forest International; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 6. Interest groups: Aspen Wilderness Workshop; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: 3; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 7. Interest groups: Biodiversity Associates; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: 9; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 9.

Interest groups: 8. Interest groups: Biodiversity Conservation 
Alliance; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 1.

Interest groups: 9. Interest groups: Breckenridge Ski Resort; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 10. Interest groups: California Wilderness Coalition; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 11. Interest groups: Californians for Alternatives to 
Toxics; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 6; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 6.

Interest groups: 12. Interest groups: Capitol Trail Vehicle 
Association; R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 1.

Interest groups: 13. Interest groups: Carson Forest Watch; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 14. Interest groups: Cascadia Wildlands Project; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
3; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 15. Interest groups: Center for Biological Diversity; 
R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 3; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 5.

Interest groups: 16. Interest groups: Center for Native Ecosystems; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: 3; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 17. Interest groups: Christians Caring for Creation; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 18. Interest groups: Citizens for Better Forestry; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 19. Interest groups: Colorado Wild; R-1: [Empty]; R-
2: 7; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 20. Interest groups: Ecology Center; R-1: 41; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 8; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 2; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 
[Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 51.

Interest groups: 21. Interest groups: Environmental Protection 
Information Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 
[Empty]; R-5: 6; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: 
[Empty]; Total: 6.

Interest groups: 22. Interest groups: Forest Conservation Council; R-
1: 8; R-2: 3; R-3: 2; R-4: 3; R-5: 25; R-6: 6; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 4; R-
10: [Empty]; Total: 51.

Interest groups: 23. Interest groups: Forest Guardians; R-1: 1; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: 2; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: 1; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 24. Interest groups: Forest Issues Group; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 3; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 25. Interest groups: Friends of Mississippi Public 
Lands; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 1; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 26. Interest groups: Friends of the Bitteroot; R-1: 
1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 27. Interest groups: Friends of the Bow; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 28. Interest groups: Friends of the Clearwater; R-1: 
6; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 6.

Interest groups: 29. Interest groups: Friends of the Pond; R-1: 1; R-
2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-
8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 30. Interest groups: Heartwood Forestwatch; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: 2; R-9: 5; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 31. Interest groups: Hells Canyon Preservation 
Council; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 5; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 5.

Interest groups: 32. Interest groups: High Country Citizens' Alliance; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 33. Interest groups: Idaho Conservation League; R-1: 
3; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 34. Interest groups: Idaho Sporting Congress; R-1: 1; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 7; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 1; R-8: [Empty]; 
R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 9.

Interest groups: 35. Interest groups: Intermountain Forest 
Association-RMD; R-1: 1; R-2: 2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 3.

Interest groups: 36. Interest groups: John Muir Project of the Earth 
Island Institute; R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-
5: 12; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 
13.

Interest groups: 37. Interest groups: Kerncrest Audubon Society; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 38. Interest groups: Kettle Range Conservation Group; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; 
R-6: 4; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 39. Interest groups: Klamath Forest Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 4; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 40. Interest groups: Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands 
Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 41. Interest groups: Kootenai Environmental Alliance; 
R-1: 7; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 42. Interest groups: Land and Water Fund of the 
Rockies; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 2.

Interest groups: 43. Interest groups: Lands Council; R-1: 23; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 6; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 29.

Interest groups: 44. Interest groups: Lassen Forest Preservation 
Group; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 3; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 45. Interest groups: League of Wilderness Defenders - 
Blue Mountain Biodiversity Project; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 
[Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 7; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 
[Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 46. Interest groups: LSK2 Incorporated; R-1: [Empty]; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 1; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 47. Interest groups: Minnesota Forest Industries, 
Inc.; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 5; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 5.

Interest groups: 48. Interest groups: Montana 4x4 Association; R-1: 1; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; 
R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 49. Interest groups: Montana Ecosystem Defense 
Council; R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 1.

Interest groups: 50. Interest groups: Montanans for Multiple Use; R-1: 
1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 51. Interest groups: Montanans for Property Rights; 
R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 52. Interest groups: National Audobon Society; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 53. Interest groups: National Forest Protection 
Alliance; R-1: 8; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 3; R-5: 10; R-6: 5; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 27.

Interest groups: 54. Interest groups: Native Ecosystems Council; R-1: 
6; R-2: 3; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 1; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 10.

Interest groups: 55. Interest groups: Native Forest Network; R-1: 1; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; 
R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 56. Interest groups: Northwest Environmental Defense 
Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 4; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 57. Interest groups: Northwoods Wilderness Recovery; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 4; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 58. Interest groups: Oregon Natural Resources 
Council; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 24; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 24.

Interest groups: 59. Interest groups: Pacific Rivers Council; R-1: 1; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; 
R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 60. Interest groups: Payette Forest Watch; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 4; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 61. Interest groups: Plumas Forest Project; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 62. Interest groups: Potlatch Corporation; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 3; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 63. Interest groups: Rajala Companies; R-1: [Empty]; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; 
R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 4; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 64. Interest groups: Ruffed Grouse Society; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 3; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 65. Interest groups: Santa Fe Forest Watch; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 2; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 66. Interest groups: Seagull-Sag Property Owners 
Association; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-
5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 1; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 
1.

Interest groups: 67. Interest groups: Sequoia Forest Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 68. Interest groups: Sierra Club; R-1: 8; R-2: 3; R-
3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 4; R-6: 5; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 1; R-10: 
[Empty]; Total: 22.

Interest groups: 69. Interest groups: Sky Island Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 70. Interest groups: Southern Appalachian 
Biodiversity Project; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 
[Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 2; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: 
[Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 71. Interest groups: Southern Utah Wilderness 
Alliance; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 1; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 1.

Interest groups: 72. Interest groups: Southwest Forest Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 73. Interest groups: Superior Wilderness Action 
Network; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 3; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 74. Interest groups: Texas Committee on Natural 
Resources; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 2; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 75. Interest groups: Tule River Conservancy; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 76. Interest groups: Upper Arkansas & South Platte 
Project; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; 
Total: 2.

Interest groups: 77. Interest groups: Utah Environmental Congress; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 7; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 7.

Interest groups: 78. Interest groups: Vallecitos Stables; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 79. Interest groups: Washington Wilderness Coalition; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; 
R-6: 1; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 80. Interest groups: Western Watersheds Project; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 4; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 81. Interest groups: White Mountain Conservation 
League; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: 1; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 82. Interest groups: Wild Watershed; R-1: [Empty]; R-
2: [Empty]; R-3: 3; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 83. Interest groups: Wilderness Society; R-1: 1; R-2: 
2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 84. Interest groups: Wildlands Center for Preventing 
Roads; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 2; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 85. Interest groups: Wildlaw; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
1; R-9: 1; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: Total for interest group appellants, by region; R-1: 
163; R-2: 47; R-3: 18; R-4: 43; R-5: 90; R-6: 77; R-8: 8; R-9: 36; R-
10: 0; Total: 482.

Interest groups: Total private individual appellants, by region - 53 
different private individuals; R-1: 10; R-2: 17; R-3: 0; R-4: 8; R-5: 
17; R-6: 7; R-8: 4; R-9: 14; R-10: 0; Total: 77.

Interest groups: Total for all identified appellants; R-1: 173; R-2: 
64; R-3: 18; R-4: 51; R-5: 107; R-6: 84; R-8: 12; R-9: 50; R-10: 0; 
Total: 559.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

Note: A decision can be appealed multiple times and multiple appellants 
can be parties to an appeal. This table provides a list of the 
appellants who appeared in the 285 appeals of the 197 appealed 
decisions in fiscal years 2001 and 2002.

[End of table]

Litigants, by Region:

Table 11 provides a list of litigants by Forest Service region. 
Interest groups were most active in the Forest Service's Northern 
(region 1), Intermountain (region 4), Pacific Southwest (region 5), and 
Pacific Northwest (region 6) Regions. The Southwestern (region 3), 
Southern (region 8), and Alaska (region 10) Regions did not have any 
decisions litigated.

Table 11: Interest Groups and Private Individuals Appearing as 
Litigants, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

Interest groups: 1. Interest groups: Alliance for the Wild Rockies; R-
1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 2. Interest groups: Aspen Wilderness Workshop; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 3. Interest groups: Blue Mountain Biodiversity 
Project; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 1; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 4. Interest groups: California Wilderness Coalition; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 5. Interest groups: Center for Biological Diversity; 
R-1: 1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; 
R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 6. Interest groups: Center for Native Ecosystems; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: 1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 7. Interest groups: Colorado Wild; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 
1; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 8. Interest groups: Ecology Center; R-1: 6; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 3; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 
[Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 10.

Interest groups: 9. Interest groups: Environmental Protection 
Information Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 
[Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: 
[Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 10. Interest groups: Forest Conservation Council; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 11. Interest groups: Friends of the Bitterroots; R-1: 
1; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 12. Interest groups: Heartwood; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: 1; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 13. Interest groups: Hell's Canyon Preservation 
Council; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 4; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 14. Interest groups: Idaho Sporting Congress; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 2; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 15. Interest groups: John Muir Project; R-1: [Empty]; 
R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 16. Interest groups: Klamath Forest Alliance; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 17. Interest groups: Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands 
Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 2; 
R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: 18. Interest groups: Kootenai Environmental Alliance; 
R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 19. Interest groups: Lands Council; R-1: 2; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 3.

Interest groups: 20. Interest groups: Native Ecosystems Council; R-1: 
3; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 1; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: 
[Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 21. Interest groups: Neighbors of Cuddy Mountain; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 1; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 22. Interest groups: Northwest Environmental Defense 
Center; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 1; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 23. Interest groups: Oregon Natural Resources 
Council; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 
[Empty]; R-6: 4; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 4.

Interest groups: 24. Interest groups: Plumas Forest Project; R-1: 
[Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 1.

Interest groups: 25. Interest groups: Sierra Club; R-1: 3; R-2: 
[Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-5: 1; R-6: 1; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: 
[Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 5.

Interest groups: 26. Interest groups: Utah Environmental Congress; R-
1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: 2; R-5: [Empty]; R-6: 
[Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 2.

Interest groups: Regional total for interest groups; R-1: 17; R-2: 3; 
R-3: 0; R-4: 9; R-5: 17; R-6: 11; R-8: 0; R-9: 1; R-10: 0; Total: 58.

Interest groups: Regional total for private individuals - 1 private 
individual; R-1: [Empty]; R-2: [Empty]; R-3: [Empty]; R-4: [Empty]; R-
5: 1; R-6: [Empty]; R-8: [Empty]; R-9: [Empty]; R-10: [Empty]; Total: 
1.

Interest groups: Total for all litigants; R-1: 17; R-2: 3; R-3: 0; R-4: 
9; R-5: 18; R-6: 11; R-8: 0; R-9: 1; R-10: 0; Total: 59.

Source: GAO data and analysis.

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix VII: Appeal Processing Time Frames for Decisions with Fuels 
Reduction Activities, by Region:

Figure 15 summarizes the processing time frames for appeals of 
decisions for each Forest Service region. The Rocky Mountain Region 
(region 2) had the highest rate of appeals processed within the 90-day 
prescribed time frame at a rate of 100 percent. The Pacific Northwest 
Region (region 6) had a rate below 50 percent by processing 17 of 49 
appeals (about 35 percent) within the 90-day prescribed time frame.

Figure 15: Appeal Processing Time Frames for Decisions with Fuels 
Reduction Activities, by Region:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix VIII: Fuels Reduction Methods and Appeals, by Forest Service 
Region:

Figure 16 summarizes the fuels reduction methods used and how 
frequently decisions with those methods were appealed by Forest Service 
region. The Southern Region (region 8) had the most decisions (166) 
with prescribed burn activities. The Pacific Southwest Region (region 
5) had the most decisions (126) with mechanical treatments. The 
Northern Region (region 1) experienced the highest appeal rates for 
decisions with prescribed burning and mechanical treatment activities-
-95 percent of appealable decisions and 55 percent of all decisions for 
prescribed burning; and 93 percent of appealable decisions and 63 
percent of all decisions for mechanical treatment.

Figure 16: Treatment Methods and Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix IX: Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities and How Frequently They Were Appealed, by Region:

Figure 17 shows a summary of the types of contracts used for 
implementing fuels reduction activities and how frequently decisions 
involving the contract types were appealed by region. The Pacific 
Northwest Region (region 6) had the most decisions (75) that included 
service contracts. The Pacific Southwest Region (region 5) issued the 
most decisions (65) with timber sale contracts. The Northern Region 
(region 1) had the most decisions (14) with stewardship contracts. The 
Intermountain (region 4), Pacific Southwest (region 5), and Eastern 
(region 9) Regions had all of their decisions with stewardship 
contracts appealed--totaling 4 decisions for all three regions.

Figure 17: Types of Contracts Used in Decisions with Fuels Reduction 
Activities and How Frequently Decisions Involving the Contract Types 
Were Appealed, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix X: Decisions in Wildland-Urban Interface and Inventoried 
Roadless Areas:

Figure 18 summarizes the number of decisions with fuels reduction 
activities in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and frequency of 
appeals by region. The Southern Region (region 8) had the most 
decisions (125) in the WUI. The Northern Region (region 1) had the most 
decisions (23) that were appealed. The highest appeal rate for all 
decisions (50 percent) was the Eastern Region (region 9). The highest 
rate for appealable decisions (88 percent) was the Northern Region 
(region 1).

Figure 18: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in the Wildland-
Urban Interface and Frequency of Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Figure 19 summarizes the number of decisions with fuels reduction 
activities in inventoried roadless areas (IRA) and frequency of appeals 
by region. The Northern Region (region 1) had the most decisions (21) 
in IRAs. The Intermountain Region (region 4) had the most appealed 
decisions (8). The highest appeal rate for all decisions (50 percent) 
was in the Eastern Region (region 9). The highest appeal rate for 
appealable decisions (100 percent) was in the Eastern Region (region 
9).

Figure 19: Decisions with Fuels Reduction Activities in Inventoried 
Roadless Areas and Frequency of Appeals, by Region, Fiscal Years 2001 
and 2002:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

[End of section]

Appendix XI: Survey Questions to National Forests:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

[End of section]

Appendix XII: Comments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

United States Department of Agriculture: 

Forest Service: 

Washington Office: 

14th & Independence SW P.O. BOX 96090 Washington, DC 20090-6090:

File Code: 1570-2:

Date. OCT 16 2003:

Barry Hill:

Director, Natural Resources and the Environment US General Accounting 
Office:

Washington, DC 20548:

Dear Mr. Hill:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments before the report is 
issued in its final form. As we said originally, we think you have done 
an excellent job on this study and in compiling the report In reviewing 
this final draft report, we are happy to note that you have 
incorporated some of the points we raised when we provided comments on 
the Congressional Briefing material in May of this year. We do, 
however, have some lingering concerns.

One of our comments related to the l million acres personal use 
firewood project on the Tonto National Forest We acknowledge GAO's 
mention of the limitation caused by including this project. 
Specifically on pg. l 1-12 you mention the possibility of skewed data 
along with an explanation for why that might occur. Nevertheless, we 
remain concerned that the tables, summaries, and appendices in your 4.8 
million we study include this l million acre project as part of the 
total acreage studied. The addition of a 1 million acre firewood 
gathering project, which is very different from the other projects in 
the study, seems not to fit the question being asked: Are appeals and 
lawsuits seriously impeding the accomplishment o^ National Fire Plan 
goals for hazardous fuels reduction? As we said in our original 
comments,

"We are very concerned that the inclusion of the acreage of 1 million 
acres for one forest's personal use firewood project may inadvertently 
skew the. data showing where the Forest Service (FS) is experiencing 
delays in project imple mentation. If it were a relatively small 
project, we would not be concerned. However, this project contains 21 % 
of the total acreage in your analysis, which we think will not lead to 
an accurate reflection of the kinds of projects that are more generally 
considered "fuels reduction projects". Though this is certainly a 
decision for a fuels reduction project, we think that it should not be 
included in this analysis because approving a large area (l million 
acres) for personal use collection of dead and down material is not at 
all similar to approving a specific project in a specific area that the 
FS carries out and completes. In reality, personal use firewood tends 
to be collected from areas close to roads, so that many of the acres in 
the l million will never be treated. We would like to see that project 
removed from all the tables and figures that include acreages, or 
include both scenarios (with the 1 million acre firewood project and 
without) so that readers can see how sensitive the results are to the 
inclusion or exclusion of that single project"

When we discussed this informally by phone, you replied that it was 
necessary to use this acreage as the Region had included it in their 
response. You noted that removing it would be a 
selective use of the data and potentially compromise objectivity. To 
address this concern, we recommended the following in the comments we 
provided in May.

"For the final report, to ensure that you choose the best set of 
data from which to make inferences, we think that you should contact 
the Regions to get more specific information on personal use firewood 
projects, so that equivalent data would be available from each Region. 
This way, you could develop some kind of objective classification of 
these kinds of projects from similar data and then decide whether to 
include or exclude them based on consistent information from each 
Region.":

It is still our desire to see the tables and statements changed to 
reflect the removal of that project from analysis and have made the 
corrections on the draft document.

In addition we believe it is important to the understanding of the 
report to include two points prominently in the narrative:

First is a point we mentioned in our earlier comments regarding the 
fact that all appeals are part of the FS workload and that more than 
one appeal can occur per project We would like to see a statement in 
the early briefing bullets mentioning that 285 appeals were filed on 
194 decisions, meaning that the FS workload responding to appeals is 
substantially greater than if there were one appeal per appealed 
decision. Also, on page 14, Table 2, we would like to add another row 
between Number of appealed decisions and Percent of decisions appealed 
titled number of Appeals. We believe that without the inclusion of this 
information, the reader cannot judge the impact of those appeals to the 
FS workload.

Another important point shown by your data and not highlighted in the 
narrative is that the percentage rate of appealable decisions that were 
appealed varies considerably by Region. For example while the national 
average for percentage of appealable decisions was 58%, Figure 13 shows 
the rates range from 36% to 90% with 6 of 8 Regions experiencing over 
50°/a of all appealable decisions being appealed. For example, a 
person, -county government, or FS employees in Missoula might get the 
impression that virtually every project is appealed since 90'/0 of the 
appealable decisions in their Region are appealed. In fact Figure 16 
shows that, during the period studied, 95% of prescribed burn and 93% 
of mechanical treatment projects that were appealable were appealed in 
that Region. Because of this variability, we would like to see the 
range of percentage rates for Figures 13 and 16 included in the 
highlights and/or briefing bullets when the 58% national average is 
mentioned.

Sincerely,

TOM L. THOMPSON:

Deputy Chief for National Forest System:

Signed for Tom L. Thompson: 

[End of section]

(360356):

FOOTNOTES

[1] The definition of an "inventoried roadless area" was provided in 
rulemaking on January 12, 2001. Litigants are currently challenging the 
rule's validity in court. The rule defines inventoried roadless areas 
as those areas identified in a set of inventoried roadless area maps 
contained in the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final 
Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000.

[2] Our work focused only on national forests; we did not include 
national grasslands in our survey and analysis. 

[3] U.S. General Accounting Office, Forest Service: Information on 
Decisions Involving Fuels Reduction Activities, GAO-03-689R 
(Washington, D.C.: May 14, 2003). 

[4] The Forest Service has had an administrative appeals system in 
place for almost all of its nearly 100-year existence. The specific 
requirements of the appeals system have changed over the years. The 
appeal procedures that apply to fiscal years 2001 and 2002 appeals 
implement the Appeals Reform Act of 1993. Discussion of appeals 
procedures in this report is based on the regulations in effect in 2001 
and 2002, unless otherwise specified.

[5] The 486 decisions that were exempt from the Forest Service appeals 
process affected about 3.0 million acres or about 62 percent of the 
acreage involving forest fuels reduction activities in fiscal years 
2001 and 2002. Generally, categorical exclusions are not appealable. 
However, three categorical exclusions were reported as appealed due to 
a settlement agreement in a lawsuit. 

[6] More than one decision can be litigated in one court case. The 25 
decisions correspond to 21 court cases.

[7] The Appeals Reform Act of 1993 (§ 322 of the Department of the 
Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1993) 
states that any person who was involved in the public comment process 
through submission of written or oral comments or by otherwise 
notifying the agency of their interest in the proposed action may file 
an appeal.

[8] The Appeals Reform Act of 1993 established the specific time 
frames. Pending legislation (H.R. 1904) would exempt fuels reduction 
projects from the Appeals Reform Act and require the Secretary of 
Agriculture to establish separate appeals procedures for these 
projects. The Forest Service recently amended its appeals regulations 
to, among other things, extend the comment period for projects with 
environmental impact statements to 45 days. The amendment did not 
affect either the filing period or the formal disposition period--each 
remains 45 days.

[9] On June 4, 2003, the Forest Service issued a final rule modifying 
certain provisions of the appeals process. 

[10] If an appeal is filed, a decision may not be implemented until 15 
days after the outcome of the appeal is determined. However, an 
"emergency mechanism" permits the Forest Service Chief to implement a 
decision even if an appeal was filed. This mechanism was not used in 
fiscal year 2001 or 2002.

[11] Four of these 5 decisions reported affecting the 700 acres. One 
decision did not report any associated acreage.

[12] In 2003, the Congress significantly expanded the scope of the 
stewardship contracting program. See section 323 of Public Law 108-7, 
the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003. None of the projects 
we examined were subject to the new legislation. 

[13] Urban Wildland Interface Communities Within the Vicinity of 
Federal Lands That Are at High Risk From Wildfire, 66 Fed. Reg. 752-753 
(2001).

[14] See U.S. General Accounting Office, Wildland Fire Management: 
Additional Actions Required to Better Identify and Prioritize Lands 
Needing Fuels Reduction, GAO-03-805 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 15, 2003).

[15] The definition of an inventoried roadless area was provided in 
rulemaking on January 12, 2001. Litigants are currently challenging the 
rule's validity in court. The rule defines inventoried roadless areas 
as those areas identified in a set of inventoried roadless area maps 
contained in Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final 
Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000. 

[16] Our work focused only on national forests, we did not include 
national grasslands in our survey.

[17] We selected environmental groups that had some appeal activity in 
a given forest. The eight environmental organizations and the 
corresponding forests include: Alliance for Wild Rockies (St. Joe, Flat 
Head, and Lolo National Forests); Biodiversity Association (Black Hills 
and Routt National Forests); Center for Biological Diversity (Apache 
and Kaibab National Forests); Utah Environmental Congress (Dixie, 
Manti-La Sal, and Cache National Forests); Forest Conversation Council 
(Lassen, Plumas, and Tahoe National Forests); Oregon National Resource 
Council (Fremont, Umatilla, and Wallowa National Forests); Texas 
Committee on Natural Resources (Angelina and Sabine National Forests); 
and Heartwood (Huron and Hiawatha National Forests).

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