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    Author(s): Valerie Rapp
    Date: 2004
    Source: Science Update 7. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p
    Publication Series: Science Update
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Massive wildfires in recent years have given urgency to questions of how to reduce fire hazard in Western forests, how to finance the work, and how to use the wood, especially in forests crowded with small trees. Scientists have already developed tools that estimate fire hazard in a forest stand. But hazard is more difficult to estimate at a landscape scale, involving concepts from forestry, fire science, economics, ecology, and geography. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) BioSum is a tool that integrates these concepts and connects existing computer models. People use it to analyze the effectiveness of fire hazard reduction and the financial feasibility of fuel treatments—using merchantable wood for solid wood products and low-value wood as biomass to generate power—under a range of product prices and fuel-treatment prescriptions. FIA BioSum helps users find solutions with a reasonable balance between acceptable costs and desired outcomes. Work that can pay for itself is more likely to get done. If work to reduce fire hazard returned net revenue and low-value wood was used to generate electricity, the solution would appear promising. Is there a small-wood alchemy that can do all this? Scientists from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station developed FIA BioSum and related models to answer this question. These tools, described inside, can help people find a balance between the outcomes they want and costs of the fuel reduction.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Rapp, Valerie. 2004. Reducing fire hazard: balancing costs and outcomes. Science Update 7. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p

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