National Forests:

Estimated Costs and Results of Alternative Silvicultural Treatments

RCED-87-61FS: Published: Dec 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed per-acre cost information on the Forest Service's use of herbicides and alternative treatment methods for site preparation, release, and thinning activities for six forests in the Pacific Northwest.

GAO noted that cost comparisons between each forest may be inaccurate and limit the usefulness of the data because costs vary due to the different physical characteristics of each forest. GAO found that: (1) the Siuslaw National Forest significantly reduced its herbicide program in fiscal year 1983, and used manual or mechanical methods on land on which it would normally have used herbicides; (2) the Forest Service accounting system did not separate out its administrative costs; and (3) manual or mechanical applications normally require more follow-up treatments and ultimately realize less timber growth and harvest levels than herbicide applications, but the cost data for those treatments were not available.

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