Tongass National Forest Timber Volumes

RCED-96-122R: Published: Apr 16, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the Forest Service's spending for preparing timber sales in the Tongass National Forest; and (2) projected and actual timber volumes from the Tongass National Forest. GAO noted that: (1) from 1992 through 1994, the Forest Service spent $27.6 million in additional appropriations and $49.9 million in annual appropriations for environmental impact statements, sales documentation, other resource support, and preconstruction road engineering in preparation for the Tongass timber sales; (2) between 1990 and 1995, the Forest Service planned to offer about 2.2 million board feet of Tongass timber, but only offered about 88 percent of its target because of ongoing litigation, lower actual measured timber volumes, and wildlife habitat conservation initiatives; (3) the February 1996 estimate of timber volume to be offered through additional appropriations is expected to be about 850 million board feet, which is about 15 percent less than its original estimate; (4) the reduced estimate is a result of refined timber volume estimates, the need to protect geological and wildlife habitat sites, and the need to meet legislative requirements; and (5) from 1995 through 2001, the Forest Service expects to offer about 316 million board feet per year.

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