When the National Forest System (NFS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service offers a timber sale that receives no bids from prospective buyers, it can consume valuable resources, delay forest management activities, and cause the NFS to miss mandated targets. Previous work revealed that the drivers of no-bid sales have two distinct levels: proximate causes and underlying factors. To further explore these issues, researchers with the Forest Service Southern Research Station sent a survey to NFS personnel in February 2021 and requested that anyone involved in timber sales in any capacity respond. The survey received an estimated 38.3-percent response rate. Overall, the results suggest employees perceive that planning timelines and pressure, insufficient coordination and communication, market forces, low staffing levels, and lack of training and support work together to make no-bid sales more likely. The proposed solutions viewed as the most likely to lead to success were that Engineers could be more involved in early planning, colleagues could receive more training, and Line Officers could be more involved in communication with industry. There was variation in responses by NFS region and by position; for example, Regions 2, 3, 4, and 8 were more negative about market/appraisal and operational factors, while Regions 1 and 6 were more negative about policy and institutional factors.
Frey, Gregory E.; Wilkens, Philadelphia; Bruck, Sonia R. 2023. Views of nobid timber sales from the National Forest System (NFS), volume I: ranking of perceptions of proximate causes, underlying factors, and proposed solutions, based on closed-ended responses from a survey of NFS employees. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-270. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 100 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/SRS-GTR-270.