Wind and weather in mountainous areas are complex because of the underlying terrain. Typically, regional computer models are needed with sufficiently high resolution to resolve such complex conditions. However, this high-resolution weather information usually becomes available only when the critical time in fighting a severe fire event is long past, thus the advantage of using high-resolution weather models for fire management seems limited. To address this problem, we have developed an experimental system called FireBuster that is designed to streamline and automate many intermediate processes. We are routinely producing forecasts at 5-km resolution over California and Nevada. A meteorologist can then select any part in the domain to request a special 1-km resolution 72-hour forecast. The resulting fire weather variables can be retrieved in a reasonable time through a web interface as each 6-hour increment is completed. Observed fire perimeters and nearsurface weather from the MesoWest observational network are also available for display and for future validation. In addition, 72-hour weather forecast time series anywhere in the domain can be retrieved simply by clicking on a map. This feature provides firefighters with detailed weather forecasts, including winds, at their location, improving their potential to save lives and property during wildfires.
We contribute to addressing two gaps that reduce the utility of ecosystem sciences for decision-making: lack of standard methods for using stakeholders’ knowledge to co-design ecosystem services science research, and absence of commensurable social valuation metrics that allow effective value comparisons. In two phases, we used co-designed instruments to conduct social valuation of biodiversity, and provisioning, cultural and regulating services. First, we conducted eight participatory fora, where experts and non-experts identified ecosystem aspects to which they ascribe value. We combined knowledge from the fora—expert and non-expert—and the literature to identify 45 ecosystem aspects of value—importance—to people. Second, we organized the valued aspects into four psychometric social valuation instruments thatwere reviewed and contributed to by experts and non-experts. We used those instruments in a survey questionnaire completed by 968 residents of Deschutes County, USA. Co-design led to high valuation reliabilities. The omission of either expert or non-expert knowledge would have resulted in suboptimal valuation. Unexpectedly, biodiversity was valued more than any category of ecosystem services, and urban sprawl regulation—a novel non-expert-identified function—was valued more than all aspects of climate regulation. These findings— directly resulting from co-design—illustrate that co-designed commensurable metrics are adaptable to various decision contexts; they can provide issue-specific valuations and comparisons, broader valuations, comparisons between specific and broader ecosystem services, and equity-based parameters for addressing distributional concerns vital to decision-making. Co-designed commensurable metrics lead to social valuations that are better suited for decision-making and for persuasive communication of those decisions to enhance social compliance.
An approach to community-based forestry (CBF) on federal forestlands in the western United States consists of a number of informal civil society institutions for communities to better organize internally and interact with government. We review the body of research on this topic, which has an explicit focus on the three interlinked aspects of democratic governance practiced to provide community benefits and ecological sustainability. We situate its prominent concepts and themes relative to the global literature on CBF, and initiate new conversation about what CBF may mean within the context of contemporary federal forest governance in the US. Drawing on our collective research and practice experience, we then propose premises and questions for a vision of a contemporary research agenda around CBF in the western US that is influenced by salient questions from the global community forestry literature, and current social and policy trends in federal lands governance.
In this paper, we present a web-based decision support system (DSS)—wSADfLOR—to facilitate the access of stakeholders to tools that may contribute to enhancing forest management planning. The emphasis is on a web-based architecture and a web graphic user interface (wGUI) that may effectively support the analysis of trade-offs between ecosystem services in order to address participatory and sustainable forest management objectives. For that purpose, the wGUI provides remote access to a management information system, enabling users to analyze environmental and biometric data and topological information as well. Moreover, the wGUI provides remote access to forest simulators so that users may define and simulate prescriptions such as chronological sequences of management options and the corresponding forest ecosystem services outcomes. Remote access to management planning methods is further provided so that users may input their objectives and constraints. The wGUI delivers information about tradeoffs between ecosystem services in the form of decision maps so that users in different locations may negotiate bundles of ecosystem services as well as the plan needed to provide them. The multiple criteria programming routines provide proposals for management plans that may be assessed further, using geographical and alphanumeric information provided by the wGUI. Results for an application to a forested landscape extending to 14,388 ha are presented and discussed. This landscape provides several ecosystem services and the development of its management plan involves multiple stakeholders. Results show that the web-based architecture and the wGUI provide effective access for stakeholders to information about the forest management planning area and to decision support tools that may contribute to addressing complex multi-objective and multiple-decision-maker management planning contexts. They also highlight that the involvement and participation of stakeholders in the design of the web-based architecture contributes to assuring the quality and the usability of the system
Public officials and stakeholders who want to advance watershed protection may want to consider how ballot referendum design can serve as a nudge in voting behaviors. We extend the research literature on voter preferences by using behavioral economics theory to provide new insights into voter behaviors towards watershed conservation referendums. We drew upon observations from 76 separate watershed protection referendums, conducted in the eastern U.S. from 1991 to 2013, and evaluated the wording of the ballot statement to determine their potential influence on voter support and the psychology of voting. Data were fitted to weighted least squares regression models to allow for broader inferences about voting behaviors. We found shorter ballot referendums with broad or vague descriptions of expected benefits and fewer descriptions of funding mechanisms likely increased the perceived odds of a favorable outcome and subsequently increased likelihood of a yes vote.
Shorelines in Alaska are changing, with significant consequences for the animals and people in this region. Organizing a series of student-led discussions with community leaders and Alaskan Native elders, Pacific Northwest Research Station scientists Adelaide Johnson and Linda Kruger have identified which coastal resources are of most concern to local communities and how coastal changes may impact these valued resources.
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The study explores use of the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) System to standardize the process of allocating Management Areas for Fire Suppression Support (MASSs) in Catalonia, Spain. MASSs are defined as those areas in the landscape that change fire behavior, reducing the magnitude of the wildfire, and improve significantly fire suppression effectiveness/capacity. Considerations for allocating MASSs include high likelihood of large fires in the vicinity, potential for spread, proximity of the location to valuable resources at risk, proximity to adequate water supply, accessibility by mechanized means, and fuel management opportunities. The combination of accessibility, water supply and fuel management opportunities, when allocating MAASs, provide the minimum requirements to allow fire suppression actions, while improving effectiveness and safety levels. For these purposes, we combine the newest data available, outputs from fire simulators and expert knowledge to define a problem that could be solved using EMDS within a participatory planning framework. To support the fire suppression mission of the firefighting service in Catalonia, this study uses a combination of strategic and tactical solutions, in which the strategic solution identifies high priority locations within the landscape for fire suppression activities, and tactical solutions identify high priority management activities within specific locations.