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Highlights

The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Forest Service, which manages almost a quarter of the nation's lands, is the only major land management agency outside the Department of the Interior (Interior). Four federal land management agencies--the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service in Interior--manage most of the 680 million acres of federal land across the country. Growing ecological challenges, ranging from wildland fires to climate change, have revived interest in moving the Forest Service into Interior. GAO was asked to report on the potential effects of moving the Forest Service into Interior and creating a new bureau equal to Interior's other bureaus, such as BLM. GAO was also asked to identify factors that should be considered if such a move were legislated, as well as management practices that could facilitate a move.

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