Estimating the Cost of Fuels Treatment
Abstract: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.
Document Type: Journal Article
Publication date: November 1, 1995
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