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Issues in evaluating the costs and benefits of fuel treatments to reduce wildfire in the Nation's forests.Author(s): Jeffrey D. Kline
Source: Res. Note PNW-RN-542. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 46 p
Publication Series: Research Note (RN)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionWildland fire has been perhaps the most vexing forest management and policy issue in the United States in recent years, stirring both passionate and reasoned debate among managers, policymakers, researchers, and citizens alike. Years of fire suppression and increasing constraints on natural and prescribed burning, possibly along with climate change, have altered historical wildfire regimes resulting in increased wildfire severity in the Nation’s forests. The growing wildfire threat has motivated increasing interest in reducing hazardous fuels through prescribed burning, thinning, and harvesting. Debate about whether such fuel treatments are necessary persists owing in part to the complexity of the wildfire issue and to general disagreement among managers, policymakers, researchers, and citizens about whether long-term wildfire impacts and current trends present a real problem. Although scientific research continues to resolve many aspects of the wildfire issue, comprehensive economic analyses examining the wisdom of investing in fuel treatments to reduce wildfire threat are lacking. This report presents one way of conceptualizing the costs and benefits of fuel treatments and wildfire and briefly reviews issues related to their evaluation. The intent is to enrich ongoing debate by organizing management and policy dialogue around a conceptual framework that characterizes the long-term impacts of fuel treatments on forest conditions and wildfires, within an analytical context that includes both wildfire- and nonwildfirerelated forest management activities.
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CitationKline, Jeffrey D. 2004. Issues in evaluating the costs and benefits of fuel treatments to reduce wildfire in the Nation''s forests. Res. Note PNW-RN-542. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 46 p
KeywordsFuel treatments, wildfire, wildland/urban interface, cost-benefit analysis
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