Problems and Progress During Current Forest Service Planning

EMD-82-99: Published: Aug 18, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1982.

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GAO reported on the U.S. Forest Service's evaluation of alternative harvest and timber management policies in terms of their potential for increased timber production in the Pacific Northwest and the effects that alternative timber harvesting policies might have on enhancing the nontimber uses of the national forests. Studies indicate that the continued use of the nondeclining even-flow timber harvesting policy would soon lead to a sizeable drop in available timber, especially in the Northwest.

GAO found that alternative timber harvesting policies are part of the Forest Service's present and future Renewable Resources Program and regional plans for the Pacific Northwest forest areas. Although there are no plans to submit these analyses in a separate document to Congress, GAO believes that the Forest Service should prepare a special summary within presently planned reports which highlights the relevant data and their implications for possible policy changes. GAO found that the problems in the interpretation of regulations and in developing automated systems necessary to the programs have been overcome. However, GAO believes that management and fiscal controls are inadequate to determine the costs of personnel and program planning and that this is a problem throughout the Forest Service.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should establish fiscal and management controls over planning by formalizing procedures for determining accurate costs and administrative steps necessary to allocate appropriate resources to the planning process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture


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