In an effort to reduce the risk of wildland fires, many federal land managers--including the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--are placing greater emphasis on thinning forests and rangelands to help reduce the buildup of potentially hazardous fuels. These thinning efforts generate considerable quantities of woody material, including many smaller trees, limbs, and brush--referred to as woody biomass--that currently have little or no commercial value. GAO was asked to determine (1) which federal agencies are involved in efforts to promote the use of woody biomass, and actions they are undertaking; (2) how these agencies are coordinating their activities; and (3) what agencies see as obstacles to increasing the use of woody biomass, and the extent to which they are addressing these obstacles.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Agriculture||To improve the Forest Service's effectiveness in promoting woody biomass utilization, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to assign responsibility for overseeing and coordinating the agency's woody biomass utilization activities to a specific official or office within the agency.|