Detailed Information on the
Bureau of Indian Affairs - Forestry Management Assessment

Program Code 10001079
Program Title Bureau of Indian Affairs - Forestry Management
Department Name Department of the Interior
Agency/Bureau Name Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2003
Assessment Rating Adequate
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 84%
Program Management 97%
Program Results/Accountability 32%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $52
FY2008 $52
FY2009 $52

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Ensure that the forest management plans are consistent with Tribal goals and objectives for economic and cultural purposes.

Completed This requirement is built into the review and approval process for all plans. Handbooks and job aids have been updated to ensure that this is accomplished.

Provide for additional forest management plans.

Completed The goal is to have one hundred percent coverage by 2015 and we have implemented that goal. Substantial progress has been made on this action item. The BIA believes that it should be considered closed due to the fact that improvements have been formalized in a process.

Develop a long-term goal to ensure 100% of forested reservations have forest management plans.


Develop baseline data and targets for performance.


Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Output

Measure: Percentage of acres on forested reservations that have a forest management plan or IRMP with forest management provisions.

Explanation:This long-term goal will measure the percentage of the 17 million acres covered by a forest management plan.

Year Target Actual
2003 44% ---
2004 73% 44%
2005 73% 85%
2006 76% 85%
2007 89% 85%
2008 91%
2009 92%
2012 95%
2015 100%
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of forested reservations covered by forest management plans.

Explanation:This goal measures the annual increment of the 275 forested reservations with a plan toward the long-term goal of covering 100% of the 17 million acres of trial forests.

Year Target Actual
2003 --- 34%
2004 44% 34%
2005 36% 36%
2006 40% 42%
2007 44% 44%
2008 48%
2009 52%
2012 64%
2015 100%
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of annual allowable cut harvested.

Explanation:This measure tracks the gap between the actual annual harvest and the current allowable annual harvest.

Year Target Actual
2003 73% 73%
2004 74% 74%
2005 74% 74%
2006 80% 74%
2007 78% 76%
2008 78%
2009 76%
Long-term/Annual Efficiency

Measure: Administrative cost per thousand board feet of commercial timber under management.


Year Target Actual
2009 $1.08
2008 TBD
2007 Establish Baseline $1.07
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Percentage of total annual allowable harvest offered for sale.


Year Target Actual
2006 --- 72%
2007 80% 84%
2008 76%
2009 76%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: Through treaties dating back to the 1800's and legislation starting with the Synder Act of 1921, the federal government has assumed a responsibility for the benefit, care and assistance of Native Americans throughout the U.S. for general support, including the management of Indian forests.

Evidence: The National Indian Forest Management Act (NIFRMA) of 1990 (25 U.S.C. 3101) allows the Secretary of the Interior to "take part in the sustainable management of Indian forest lands, with the participation of the land's beneficial owners, in a manner consistent with the Secretary's trust responsibility and with the objectives of the beneficial owners...".

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Prior to the passage of NIFRMA, Congress identified a series of findings that: Indian forests are among the tribes most valuable resources; the U.S. has a trust responsibility for the lands; Federal laws do not sufficiently assure the adequate management of these lands; tribal governments are making substantial contributions to the overall management of the lands; and there is a serious threat arising from trespassing and unauthorized harvesting of the resources.

Evidence: NIFRMA, P.L. 101-630 Sec. 302.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: While the Bureau of Land Management in the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, and some states manage similar forestry programs within their respective areas, they do not service this population.

Evidence: Various treaties and legislation.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The overall objective of the Indian forestry program is to manage or assist Tribes with the management of their forests consistent with Tribal goals and objectives. There is no evidence that a different approach would be more efficient or effective.


YES 20%

Is the program effectively targeted, so program resources reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: Nearly 50% of the BIA forestry appropriation is contracted by tribes through self-determination contracts and self-governance compacts.

Evidence: The following approximate percentages of the forestry budget categories are targeted at the field level rather than for overhead/administration: 100% of TPA; 87% of Non-Recurring; 50% of Regional Office Operations; 30% of Central Office Operations. In addition, tribes receive contract support for administrative expenses (i.e., personnel and accounting).

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: BIA has a long-term performance goal to manage or influence resource use to enhance Tribal benefit and promote responsible use of forest products.

Evidence: See GPRA plans and the Department's FY 2004 Strategic Plan.

YES 12%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Indian forests cover over 17 million acres on 275 reservations in 26 states with a commercial timber volume of approximately 42 billion board feet with an annual allowable harvest of 779 million board feet. There are several performance measures that reflect the program purpose, including increasing the actual timber harvest to the level of the calculated allowable harvest or to the tribes expressed goals; and increasing the number of Indian forest lands covered under a Forest Management Plan (FMP), or forest implementation plans under an approved Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP).

Evidence: See GPRA plans and the Department's FY 2004 Strategic Plan.

YES 12%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term measures?

Explanation: The NIFRMA requires a FMP for each of the forested reservations. While BIA has made some progress, only 40% of the forested reservations have current FMPs and only 28 have IRMPs with an additional 46 under development. BIA has developed a goal to cover 100% of the tribes with a plan.

Evidence: See GPRA plans and the Department's FY 2004 Strategic Plan.

YES 12%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets and timeframes for its annual measures?

Explanation: BIA has developed a long term goal to have a forest management plan for 100% of Indian forest land.

Evidence: See GPRA plans and the Department's FY 2004 Strategic Plan.

YES 12%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, etc.) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: Tribal forest programs under self-determination contracts and self-governance compacts are managed in accordance with their FMP and/or IRMP and report accomplishments to BIA and GPRA coordinators.

Evidence: Reporting requirements under BIA and GPRA, along with the self-governance funding agreements.

YES 12%

Are independent and quality evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The BIA forestry program is subject to an independent evaluation every 10 years as required by NIFRMA. The first assessment was completed in the 1993, and the second was due to be published in the fall of 2003. In addition, some individual tribal forestry programs have elected to be evaluated by independent certifiers of sustainable forestry.

Evidence: NIFRMA, PL 101-630; 1993 Assessment by the Indian Forest Management Assessment Team; draft 2003 Assessment by the Indian Forest Management Assessment Team. In addition, a report is prepared every 5 years by the BIA, Office of Trust Responsibilities, that focuses on tracking the adequacy of funding and FTE levels.

YES 12%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: BIA has not met its goal for the past several years for harvesting and has lowered its goal. Budget requests do not reflect a reduction in the amount of funding needed to achieve a lower goal. In fact, both the FY 2003 enacted and FY 2004 budget requested a $1.5 million increase to help narrow the gap between allowable and actual.

Evidence: Refer to budget narratives.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: Strategic planning measures have been newly refined for FY2004. Forestry lies within the "Resource Use" quadrant of the Department's Mission and Outcome Goals contained within the Strategic Plan. Recently, six "Activities" for Activities Based Costing (ABC) were defined for measure within the Forestry Program.

Evidence: Refer to Strategic Plan Measure Definitions and ABC Activity Definitions for Resource Use - Forest Products .

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 84%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: Performance data is collected on an annual basis from all forest managers of Indian forests, both the federal managers and tribal forest manager partners. Data is used to produce an annual performance report to Congress. Performance data is frequently used to adjust annual allocations of non-recurring project-based funding.

Evidence: Allocation changes, based on performance or lack thereof in non-recurring forest development funding, are documented.

YES 16%

Are Federal managers and program partners (grantees, subgrantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, etc.) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: SES Performance Plans include "Forestry Performance" for those managers who have forest responsibilities. In addition, forest managers are responsible for operating within their approved FMP or IRMP, and have performance measures of various types that enforce this responsibility.

Evidence: Examples of performance measures for forest managers and SES Performance Plan language. BIA has the ability to adjust funding levels. For example, no funds have been allocated to the Navajo Nation in the last 2 years due to the lack of an acceptable FMP.

YES 16%

Are all funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: TPA funds are spent for general forest operations and for timber sale preparation and administration. Non-recurring funds are project specific and spent for forest development work (thinning and planting), inventory and management planning, woodlands management, watershed restoration, and increased timber harvest initiatives. Funds are obligated within their two-year funding cycle. Because most forestry work is project specific and dependent upon weather conditions, market conditions, wildland fire situation, etc., some project obligations understandably do not occur until the second year of the two-year budget cycle.

Evidence: Contracted funds are routinely examined via 638-contract audits and self-governance trust reviews to track expenditure timeliness and to ensure funds are being used for the intended purpose.

YES 16%

Does the program have procedures (e.g., competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, approporaite incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: Of the tribes with forestry programs, 121 or 47% provide management services for their own forests. Compact/contract agreements permit tribes to use any cost savings achieved for related program purposes. In addition, Indian forests often are valued by the tribes for ceremonial or cultural purposes rather than as a source of revenue; therefore, cost efficiencies are not necessarily important or desirable. Tribes are encouraged to manage their programs for self-sufficiency; therefore, competitive sourcing to private entities to achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness would be contrary self-governance.

Evidence: Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (P.L. 98-638), as amended and Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-413)

NA 0%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: Collaborations occur regularly with the U.S. Forest Service (FS), the Fish and Wildlife Service, the states and the forest industry. Some examples of FS collaborations are: the use of FS entomologists and pathologists as technical experts on reservations; the application of FS pest management funding for activities on reservations; and cooperative agreements with some FS offices for staff exchanges to improve efficiency. In addition, BIA partners with FS on a cooperative education agreement at Haskell University to train 20 students annually in resource management, including forestry.

Evidence: Refer to pest management allocations from the FS. Also, cooperative agreements regarding personnel exchanges occur at the field level.

YES 16%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The FY 2002 Audited Financial Statement shows a BIA-wide material weakness for inadequate controls over financial reporting. However, the material weakness is not directly related to the forestry program.

Evidence: FY 2002 Audited Financial Statements

YES 16%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The draft 2003 IFMAT-II executive summary shows that major progress has been made to 3 of the 4 major gaps identified by the 1993 team.

Evidence: An Assessment of Indian Forests and Forest Management in the United States, June 2003, Executive Summary by the Second Indian Forest Management Assessment Team (IFMAT-II) for the Intertribal Timber Council.

YES 17%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 97%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term outcome performance goals?

Explanation: The NIFRMA requires a forest management plan for each of the forested reservations. While BIA has made some progress, only 40% of the tribes have current FMPs and only 28 have IRMPs with an additional 46 under development.

Evidence: BIA Greenbook and IFMAT-II


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Annual performance goals are achieved in some years and not in others. The reasons behind this lack of achievement are somewhat different than not achieving the long-term goals. Achieving the annual goals can be hampered by: (1) severity of wildland fire season, as forestry staff can be drawn away from normal duties to perform wildland fire suppression duties, and large forest areas can be shut down from meaningful work accomplishment; (2) other weather conditions, such as extremes in any weather facet, can seriously detract from the number of productive work days in the forest; (3) market conditions for the forest products being produced (poor markets can slow production); and (4) expressed goals of the tribes differing from FMP as a result of a change in leadership.

Evidence: Refer to GPRA reports and Report to Congress.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program performance goals each year?

Explanation: BIA has not met its goal for the past several years for harvesting and has lowered its projected harvest levels. The FY 2003 budget includes a $1.5 million increase in TPA funds to target tribes with differences between actual and allowable harvests. The FY 2004 budget request contains an identical request. Data showing the effect of the increase for narrowing the gap between allowable and actual is not available.

Evidence: BIA Greenbook

NO 0%

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., that have similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The traditional cultural and spiritual connection between the tribes and their lands make them unique to comparisons to state or private entities whose goals may be more closely aligned to economic outcomes. However, because the BIA forestry program has a large timber sale component, a comparison to BLM or FS is not feasible. A recent GAO report on BLM Public Domain Lands found that a sharp decline in timber volume since 1990 is the direct result of the governmentwide shift from timber production to enhancing forest ecosystem health. BLM's timber volume in 2002 was 26 million board feet compared to BIA's harvest of 569 million board feet.

Evidence: GAO-03-615 - BLM Public Domain Lands - Volume of Timber Offered for Sale Has Declined Substantially Since Fiscal Year 1990

NA 0%

Do independent and quality evaluations of this program indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: The 2003 IFMAT-II report indicates progress has been made in several key areas since the 1993 IFMAT Assessment including narrowing the gap between Tribal and BIA forestry program visions with greater Tribal participation in planning and management However, some gaps remain including the need for all forested reservations to have a management plan.

Evidence: Some individual tribal forestry programs have elected to be evaluated by independent certifiers of sustainable forestry, such as the American Forest and Paper Association or the First Nation Development Institute (FNDI) that provide third party certification that forest practices and harvesting methods are sustainable. However, FNDI found that "tribes that focus their forest management practices on ceremonial activities and use forest products predominantly for internal, non-commercial use may not be interested in the market-driven characteristics..." of certification. See "The Place of Third-Party Forest Products Certification in Native American Forestry."

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 32%

Last updated: 09062008.2003SPR