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Barriers to Effective State Timber Sale Program Administration: A Qualitative Assessment

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State timber sale programs have developed independently and under different political, economic, and environmental conditions. Although previous studies have described the characteristics of and procedures used by state timber sale programs, the complex challenges facing these programs and opportunities associated with their design and administration have not been studied. Telephone focus groups were used to conduct an in-depth assessment of common barriers to effective operations and areas for improvement. Supervisors from timber sale programs in 15 different states participated in three telephone focus groups in July 2009. Barriers to effective administration often fall into one of four categories: encouraging timber harvesting best management practices and desirable logger performance, reducing administrative costs through technological upgrades, the position of the timber sale program within state government, or program responsiveness to unique and changing market conditions. We believe several key administrative procedures and program characteristics could serve as guiding principles for states that are looking to improve timber sale program design and administration, including procedures to reward good loggers, incentives to encourage timely harvests, improvements in technology, protected forest management accounts, greater flexibility to adjust sale methods to specific conditions, and greater communication between state programs.
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Keywords: administrative efficiency; public land management; telephone focus groups

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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    The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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