Economics of Restoration and Hazardous Fuels Treatments

Working with economists from the University of Nevada at Reno, we developed a State-and-Transition simulation model of Ponderosa Pine Forest ecosystem of the Southern Colorado Plateau in the western United States and then used it to evaluate and compare the economic efficiency of restoration-based fuel treatments and hazardous fuels-reduction treatments. The choice between restoration-based and hazardous fuels reduction treatments is germane in Ponderosa Pine Forests and other fire-adapted, forested ecosystems where escalating wildfire activity, suppression costs, and damages is driven, in part, by forest over-crowding related to a historic policy of aggressive wildfire suppression. Efforts continue in the area as we explore application in other ecosystems, model validation, and general influence of exploratory variables in a Structural Equation Modeling framework.