The economics of ecological restoration and hazardous fuel reduction treatments in the ponderosa pine forest ecosystem

Michael H. Taylor, Andrew J Sanchez Meador, Yeon-Su Kim, Kimberly Rollins, Hank Will

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, we develop a simulation model of the benefits and costs of managing the ponderosa pine forest ecosystem in the southwestern United States. Using the model, we evaluate and compare the economic benefits and costs of ecological restoration and hazardous fuel reduction treatments. Both treatment approaches increase the expected number of low-severity wildfires, which can promote postfire rehabilitation. Hazardous fuel reduction treatments are likely to reduce expected wildfire suppression costs, but not enough to offset the costs of implementing treatments. Conversely, ecological restoration treatments do not necessarily reduce expected wildfire suppression costs but fully restore the ecosystem in more than half of the simulation runs, which lowers the need for future fire suppression and reduces the chance of conversion to nonforest, alternative stable states. We find that the choice between hazardous fuel reduction and ecological treatments will depend on the management objective being pursued, as well as on site-specific factors such as the wildfire return interval and the economic value of biomass removed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-1008
Number of pages21
JournalForest Science
Volume61
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 2015

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Keywords

  • Ecological thresholds
  • Policy
  • Simulation model
  • State-and-transition model
  • Wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Ecology

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