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Estimating the Cost of Fuels Treatment

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We develop a potentially generalizable cost estimation procedure for fuels treatment using the National Park Service (NPS) nationwide database. The NPS database includes records on the projected cost of fuel treatment projects. These records are kept separately for traditional hazard fuel reduction projects and for resource management projects. Resource management projects are intended to implement objectives associated with the enhancement or restoration of ecosystems. Hence, we used resource management projects as a proxy for activities which might be pursued by public land managers in the name of ecosystem management. Our cost estimation procedure focuses on a constant elasticity of declining unit cost with increases in scale. Using multiple regression techniques, we test and confirm the hypotheses that the constant elasticity estimate can be applied to treatments intended to reduce fuel hazards or to treatments preferred for ecosystem management objectives. We also tested and confirm the hypothesis that ecosystem management cost estimates are more uncertain and therefore less precise than those made for the more traditional fuels hazard reduction treatments. We infer that the constant elasticity cost expression for fuels treatment is generalizable because it was found independent of treatment scale, management objective, fuel type, or other physical and economic attributes common to fuels treatments. We identify additional attributes of fuels treatment, including location, fuel type and treatment method that significantly affect cost estimates. For. Sci. 41(4):664-674.

Keywords: Fuels treatment; ecosystem management; fire management; forest economics; fuels management

Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: November 1, 1995

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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