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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Forest Service's management of national forests, focusing on the issues related to multiple use of forest land. GAO noted that: (1) the Forest Service's decisions are affected by changing natural land conditions, funding, and new information and events; (2) laws concerning forest land use are complicated by fragmented authority between federal agencies and states; (3) the Forest Service should consider shortening the periods covered under forest plans, reducing the influence of subsequent events, improving the data on which decisions are based, increasing coordination among the Forest Service and other federal agencies, and limiting administrative appeals; (4) some Forest Service officials believe that Congress should provide guidance on how to balance competing uses of forest land; and (5) the Chief of the Forest Service believes that the maintenance and restoration of noncommodity uses should be explicitly accepted or rejected, and if accepted, the effects should be acknowledged.

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