Information on the Forest Service Appeals System

T-RCED-89-43: Published: May 18, 1989. Publicly Released: May 18, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Forest Service's appeals system to assess the number, processing time, and backlog of unresolved appeals, as well as whether appeals delayed timber sales. GAO found that: (1) the number of appeals increased from 584 to 1,298 between fiscal years 1983 and 1988; (2) nearly all delays were due to problems with Forest Service environmental analyses that did not meet all documentation requirements; (3) although the Forest Service has revised its environmental analysis procedures to ensure that analyses meet all requirements, the delays will continue for some time because of the absence of a sufficient inventory of future year sales with completed environmental analyses that could substitute for delayed sales; (4) rebuilding this inventory sufficiently to avoid further delays will take another 2 years and will require additional funding dedicated to sales preparation; and (5) the Forest Service will also need to dedicate additional funding to prepare its yearly target volumes in order to maintain this inventory level.

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