In an effort to reduce the risk of wildland fires, many federal land managers--including the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management--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 the actions they are undertaking; (2) how these agencies coordinate their activities; and (3) what the agencies see as obstacles to increasing the use of woody biomass, and the extent to which they are addressing the obstacles. This testimony is based on GAO's report Natural Resources: Federal Agencies Are Engaged in Various Efforts to Promote the Utilization of Woody Biomass, but Significant Obstacles to Its Use Remain (GAO- 05-373), being released today.
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