Department of Environmental Conservation

State Forest Timber Sales (Follow-Up Report)

The Department of Environmental Conservation regularly cuts down trees in State-owned forests to promote forest health and biodiversity, ensure forest sustainability, provide for recreational opportunities, and accomplish other important forest management goals. The Department then sells the harvested timber to the highest bidder in publicly advertised sales.

The Department has determined the optimal amount of sustainable harvesting that can be done in State forests each year. However, in audit 2006-S-9, we found that the Department was harvesting only about half that amount. As a result, important forest management goals were not being fully achieved and about $4.85 million a year in potential timber sale revenue was being lost. We determined that the main reason for the low harvest rate was a lack of available staff. We recommended the Department formally evaluate the costs and benefits of hiring additional foresters. We also recommended that certain improvements be made in the Departmentís administration of its publicly advertised timber sales. When we followed up on these matters with Department officials, we found that they had made progress in implementing our audit recommendations, but additional actions were still needed.

For a complete copy of Report 2009-F-25 click here.