Information on Forest Service Below-Cost Timber Sales for National Forests in Colorado

RCED-84-184: Published: Aug 3, 1984. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Forest Service's timber sales made by the national forests in Colorado for fiscal years (FY's) 1981 and 1982.

GAO found that total Forest Service revenues from advertised timber sales in four regions exceeded Service sale costs by $712 million. Although the timber was sold at or above the Service's appraised values, 27 percent of the sales in FY 1981 and 42 percent in FY 1982 failed to generate sufficient revenues to cover the costs of making the sales. In terms of volume sold, the Rocky Mountain Region, which includes Colorado plus three other states, accounted for about 4 percent of the total timber sold by all Forest Service regions during this period. For the national forests in Colorado, the percentages for below-cost sales were 98 percent in 1981 and 100 percent in 1982. GAO believes that management of federal timber resources could be improved by developing and using financial data in the timber sale planning and decisionmaking process.

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