Tongass National Forest:

Administration of Two Long-Term Alaskan Timber Contracts

RCED-90-87: Published: Feb 21, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1990.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

John W. Harman
(202) 512-5138
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed two long-term timber contracts in the Tongass National Forest, focusing on: (1) timber harvested under the two contracts; (2) timber deleted from the contractors' operating plans; (3) backlogged timber; and (4) Forest Service management of the Tongass timber program.

GAO found that: (1) the Service did comply with all of its internal controls for documenting harvested timber volumes, which resulted in inaccurate figures; (2) it could not verify the amount of timber deleted from operating plans because the Service's documentation and records were incomplete; and (3) the Service understated the volume of the timber backlog by 9 million board feet. GAO also found that the Service: (1) has expanded its use of log accountability audits; (2) limited the volume of timber harvested each year; (3) proposed or made contract changes addressing deletions; and (4) implemented two systems to improve its documentation of timber sales program activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Forest Service Region 10 headquarters is monitoring forest supervisors log accountability reviews to ensure that the required reviews are being conducted.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief, Forest Service, to ensure that, at the Tongass National Forest, forest supervisors conduct log accountability audits at each district office every 2 years, as required by Forest Service policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Forest Service's record of decision for final environmental impact statements for the current 5-year plans on the two long-term sales contracts involved have had language included requiring documentation of changes in cutting units.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief, Forest Service, to ensure that, at the Tongass National Forest, the information needed to document when and why timber sale deletions occur is accurately recorded in the agency's records.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 24, 2016

May 26, 2016

Apr 18, 2016

Mar 24, 2016

Mar 10, 2016

Feb 4, 2016

Sep 29, 2015

Mar 25, 2015

Feb 19, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here