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A Method For Designing Cost-Effective Wilderness Allocation Alternatives

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A linear programming model for selecting a least-cost set of wilderness areas from the RARE II roadless area inventory for California is formulated and used to derive a wilderness supply cost function. The method defines the wilderness opportunity cost as the foregone resource values from nonwilderness management. The model deals with wilderness allocation alternatives at the regional rather than national forest level, and provides for such secondary goals as ecosystem representation and geographical location of wilderness units. Results show that marginal cost of additional wilderness in dollars per acre and per visitor day is relatively negligible up to about 2 million acres. Opportunity cost then increases to a maximum of $74 per potential visitor day if RARE II areas receive the same average level of use as existing wilderness areas. Ecosystem representation goals add to opportunity costs, but diminish to zero for a wilderness allocation goal exceeding three million acres. Results also show that of the six RARE II wilderness allocation alternatives that could be evaluated, none are cost effective relative to the least-cost alternatives. The same wilderness area can be provided at substantially less cost; or alternatively, more roadless area could be allocated to wilderness at the same cost. Forest Sci. 27:551-566.

Keywords: Land-use planning; Linear programming; RARE II; Wilderness cost

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor of Forestry, Department of Forestry and Resource Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

Publication date: September 1, 1981

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