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Highlights

GAO discussed the ecosystem management approach to managing the nation's lands and natural resources, focusing on: (1) the status of federal initiatives to implement ecosystem management; (2) additional actions needed to implement this approach; and (3) barriers to governmentwide implementation. GAO noted that: (1) the four primary federal land management agencies have taken steps to implement ecosystem management, which include agreements with federal and nonfederal agencies, private land owners, and other interested parties to address problems or issues of mutual concern; (2) the Administration has requested $700 million in its fiscal year 1995 budget for these initiatives and is considering some general principles to guide ecosystem management implementation; (3) the Administration needs to clarify its policy goal for ecosystem management and to take certain practical steps to clearly identify what must be done and by whom; and (4) barriers to successful governmentwide implementation include noncomparable and insufficient data, disparities in federal agencies' missions and planning requirements that hamper interagency coordination, and incentives, authorities, interests, and limitations that constrain federal and nonfederal parties' efforts to work together.

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