Potential Impacts of Tighter Forest Service Log Export Restrictions

RCED-85-17: Published: Jan 28, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed the potential impacts of tighter Forest Service log export restrictions in the Western United States; and (2) determined the volume and potential impacts of banning third-party substitution.

GAO found that, according to the Service, the acquisition of national forest timber from authorized purchasers by firms which were ineligible for direct timber purchases approximated 2 percent of all national forest timber harvested in the western United States. GAO also found that, if the Service banned third-party substitution: (1) some companies could acquire national forest timber at lower prices because of decreased demand and competition, and the lower prices would result in less government revenues; and (2) the ban could disrupt traditional log markets and business practices and force some companies to change their operations or go out of business. In addition GAO found that: (1) the Service reported that it could not enforce a ban on this practice without additional authority and staff; and (2) about 100 million board feet of national forest timber is used as replacement for private timber exported annually, but a GAO review of timber sales contract files for three national forests in Idaho did not disclose that any timber substitution occurred in those forests.

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