Climate Change Constrains the Efficiency Frontier When Managing Forests to Reduce Fire Severity and Maximize Carbon Storage

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Abstract

Pareto efficiency frontiers are ideal analytical tools for evaluating likely shifts in the production of forest ecosystem services under climate change. In the context of multi-objective forest management, these frontiers, or the set of non-dominated solutions for a set of objectives at varying levels of output, provide quantitative measures of trade-offs between competing ecosystem services and changes in the best-possible management outcomes for different climate change scenarios. We used outputs from a forest growth-and-yield model that simulated wildfire and management to examine three types of Pareto frontier analyses: 1) carbon storage maximization under changing budgetary constraints with and without wildfire effects, 2) minimization of undesirable wildfire effects under changing budgetary constraints, and 3) minimization of undesirable wildfire effects at varying constrained carbon storage levels. We found that over 45 years climate change reduced the average amount of carbon stored, whether or not we simulated a wildfire on the 23,204 ha study area despite our best management efforts. Climate change also adversely affected the trade-off rate, or slope of the frontiers, between carbon storage and wildfire effects. We illustrate how the application of a methodology typically used in economics can reveal insights in forest ecosystem management otherwise hidden to decision-makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Economics
Volume140
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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