Crumb Trail
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Friday, September 26, 2003

Rural Technology Initiative - Forest Management Software

An interesting report on studies done by the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington on forest management strategies. A free piece of software is made available to evaluate management strategies. The bad fires we have had in recent years will continue and grow worse with no action to reduce fuel loads. It's an expensive proposition but appears not to be optional since the costs of fire suppression and environmental degradation are as high or higher than thinning and removal.


Forest fuel reduction treatments are needed, as demonstrated by the increased number of devastating crown fires and annual increases in National Forest acres categorized as high risk. This report develops analysis components for effective fire risk reduction strategies to help professionals, publics, and policy-makers gain a better understanding of the current circumstances and alternatives. A range of thinning strategies were simulated and evaluated for the Okanogan and Freemont National Forests providing a set of results for comparative climatic and infrastructure conditions. Measures of fire risk reduction, economic cost, habitat protection, and carbon sequestration were evaluated, to develop the basis for characterizing both market and non-market values resulting from forest fires and fire risk reduction activities. The market cost of removing enough small diameter material to reduce fire risk sometimes exceeds the market value for the material removed. However, non-market benefits of reduced fire fighting and rehabilitation costs, facility losses and fatalities, protected habitats, sequestered carbon, saved water and other public values appear to more than offset treatment costs. Contracting alternatives and infrastructure needs are also evaluated. Treatment strategies can be customized to local forest and market conditions, providing the basis for management training as well as public education.

posted by back40 | 9/26/2003 01:27:00 PM


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