Erratum: USDA Forest Service Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act: Fast, Variable, Rarely Litigated, and Declining (Journal of Forestry DOI: 10.1093/jofore/fvaa016)

Forrest Fleischman, Cory L. Struthers, Gwen Arnold, Mike Dockry, Tyler A. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


This erratum makes three corrections to the findings in “US Forest Service Planning, Appeals, and Litigation Data on NEPA compliance, 2005-2018”, published in Journal of Forestry (2020). These corrections do not change the substantive conclusions drawn in the article. First, in the original manuscript, we reported that 292 projects were litigated in the study period (2005- 2018). This result was produced by tabulating the projects litigated when the NEPA analysis for a given project was first signed (i.e., the first “decision ID” assigned). However, a number of projects have multiple decision IDs (more than one signing date), in some cases precisely because they were litigated and then revised. By including later decision IDs, the total number of projects litigated in the study period is 318 (a difference of 26 projects). This alternative coding choice results in 17% (not 12%) of litigated EIS cases. There are no differences in percent cases litigated among EAs or CEs although the number of CEs in 2007 is now 49 instead of 48 cases. Upon including these additional 26 litigated projects, the values we report for outcomes on legal cases change slightly. Excluding cases unresolved according to the PALS data, the USFS won 69% (not 67%) and lost 19% (not 21%) of cases. We emphasize that because 41% of the cases are unresolved, the values we report may not be representative of outcomes overall. Second, we reported the mean as opposed to median values for time to completion by forest. As explained in the original article, we intended to report median values to exclude extreme cases. The results that follow strengthen support for our argument that time to completion for most USFS NEPA analysis is relatively quick. Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit took an average of five months to complete CE analyses (not more than one year), and while it was one of the slowest units to complete CEs, the forest that took the most time was Ottawa (approximately seven months to complete). Only one forest (not nine) took longer than two years to complete their average EA (Olympic). Although Daniel Boone and Helena-Lewis and Clark were among the slowest, Olympic and Wallowa-Whitman took the longest to complete their average EA according to the median estimate. Finally, 22 forests (not 15) took less than two years to complete their EISs, and Black Hills took 1.2 (not 1.6) years on average. Finally, we discovered two typos. One concerns the number of project signers: 446 (not 443) individuals have signed a single project. The other concerns the percentages presented in Table 1. Although (Table Presented). the descriptions of project purposes in the text of the manuscript are correct, some of the percentages entered in the table are incorrect. The corrected table (Table 1) is presented above. In closing, we would like to emphasize that users of the dataset may make data measurement choices that lead to minor changes in the specific values we report in the paper. However, we are confident that no measurement choices will lead to any meaningful differences in interpretation of the descriptive data we report in our original manuscript and this erratum. We have posted the article’s corresponding code, data files, a revised readme, and a new version of the data to the repository: These details have been corrected only in this corrigendum/ erratum to preserve the published version of record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-482
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

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