Pricing ecosystem resilience in frequent-fire ponderosa pine forests

Tong Wu, Yeon Su Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dry forests across the United States have become subject to declining resilience and, consequently, increased vulnerability to catastrophic wildfires. These disturbances cause severe environmental and social damages and may dislodge the forest into a different ecological regime. Forests provide many valuable services, such as the provisioning of timber and the sequestering of carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change. The high-severity conflagrations that have become regular occurrences in many dry forests impinge the delivery of such benefits, particularly in the event of a regime shift. Sustainable forest management should take these risks into account. This article analyzes the economics of resilience in dry forests with respect to catastrophic fires and ecological thresholds. We illustrate how to price ecosystem resilience for the fire-prone ponderosa pine forests of the western United States. This analysis demonstrates that pricing forest resilience also establishes the economic value of ecological restoration with respect to ecosystem services, thereby operationalizing forest management as an investment in natural capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Volume27
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

Keywords

  • Ecological restoration
  • Ecosystem services
  • Forest management
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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