Intensive Timber Management
CED-79-88: Published: Apr 27, 1979. Publicly Released: May 4, 1979.
- Full Report:
The Forest Service reforestation and timber stand improvement program was evaluated, with an assessment of progress in implementing a 1978 action plan for improving administration of these programs.
The Forest Service continues to experience difficulty in determining the magnitude of reforestation and timber stand improvement needs and the economic value of accomplishing this work. The reported size of these needs appears to be overstated as substantial reductions have been made in management needs since 1975, thus lessening the urgency for increased appropriations. Due to the practice of giving priority to the least costly projects, the agency now is faced with rapidly rising costs and difficult projects which cannot readily be classified as cost-effective. Because of increasing project costs, shortages in nursery stock, and lack of sufficient site preparation, the agency has been unable to complete the reforestation and improvement acres targeted by Congress. The action plan to overcome these weaknesses will require several years to implement fully and is already behind schedule. Any expansion in program levels would not be appropriate until weaknesses are overcome and the action plan is implemented nationwide.
Recommendation for Executive Action
Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to decide on the minimum economic criteria for reforestation and timber stand improvement investments, prepare economic analyses of management projects, implement controls to ensure that the most beneficial work is done, strengthen guidelines and review procedures for inventorying and reporting lands in need of reforestation and improvement, and give higher priority to more timely implementation of the action plan.