The Forest Service, within the Department of Agriculture, manages over 190 million acres of forest and grassland. The agency is responsible for managing its lands for various purposes--including recreation, grazing, timber harvesting, and others--while ensuring that such activities do not impair the lands' long-term productivity. Carrying out these often competing responsibilities has been made more difficult by the increasing cost of wildland fires and the budgetary constraints necessitated by our nation's long-term fiscal outlook. This testimony highlights some of the major management challenges the Forest Service faces in carrying out its land management responsibilities. It is based on numerous reports GAO has issued on a wide variety of the agency's activities.
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