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The Economics of Prescribed Burning: A Research Review

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Prescribed burning has, in the past decade, become the focus of debate among policy makers, federal and private land managers, and the public. To manage fire effectively, the USDA Forest Service has formally recognized the need for economic analysis. It is stated in the Federal Wildland Fire Policy of 1995 that fire management alternatives will be based on science and sound ecological and economic principles. This article briefly examines key issues of the Federal Wildland Fire Policy from an economic perspective, and reviews the economic literature pertaining to prescribed burning. In particular, attention is paid to research regarding costs and benefits, efficiency, risk, and the wildland–urban interface. Recommendations for future economic research include focusing on defining a production function that relates economic and ecological outcomes with respect to prescribed fire; assessment of long-term cumulative effects; and finally, a comprehensive assessment of risk including decision making at the agency level. FOR. SCI. 46(3):322–334.
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Keywords: Prescribed fire; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; wildland fire management

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Assistant Professor School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 59812-0576, Phone: (406) 243-4825; Fax: (406) 243-6656 [email protected]

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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