Forest Focus - November 24, 1998

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Sun Nov 29 18:16:25 EST 1998

In article <MPG.10ca8e029e0d90a3989c61 at>,
Larry Caldwell <larryc at> wrote:

>That was sort of how the article was written.  In fact, the USFS sold 
>$1.2 billion in timber, and retained $1.05 billion for administration of 
>local programs, like reforestation, wildlife habitat enhancement, 
>biological research, stream bank improvement and road funds.  They 
>returned approximately $150 million to the general fund.  From the 
>article, you would think the money was wasted.  It was just spent on 
>other stuff.

A real question - and I'm stating this out of the context of the article
you quoted - is "how much of the reforestation, habitat enhancement,
biological research, stream bank improvement, and road funds should
be charged to the timber sales program"?

Some conservation groups say "all of it, because without the timber
sale program we wouldn't need reforestation, habitat enhancement,
etc programs which are nearly all targetted to undoing the effects
of past sales which were executed under rules much more harmful
to non-timber goals than the rules in force today".

The timber industry has stated many time, in essence, "none of
these funds".

The real answer lies somewhere in the middle.  Did the GAO make an
effort to charge off a fair portion of such expenses to the sales program?
In other words, is the $1.05 billion the total expended for such
programs, or is this the GAO's estimate of the fair proportion to
be charged against the sales program, or does anyone actually know?

Historically, though, the USFS has spent money on biological research
in the context of "how much timber can we sell while still paying
to the NFMA's mandate to conserve wildlife on our NF's".  There have
been bits and pieces which have been spent on research out of that context,
but not a hell of a lot.  For practical purposes you can call it zero
without distorting the picture.  While not wasted, such spending would
seem to be fairly charged against the timber sales program, since this
research is paid for in order to support the program...

>> Most of the other stuff you're mentioning aren't part of the timber
>> sales program, and are accounted for separately, I believe.

>That's where the money went.

Not to recreation, wilderness inventory or assessment work, etc, I
presume.  The list you give is pretty narrow and mostly a result of
the fact that a timber sales program exists.


- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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