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Estimating Contingent Values for Protection from Wildland Fire Using a Two-Stage Decision Framework

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The ongoing expansion of human populations into wildland areas dominated by flammable vegetation, and the concomitant increased frequency of uncontrolled wildfires that result in losses of property and human lives, has raised new questions about the optimal level of fire protection. The morphing of the problem conception from minimizing costs plus losses of natural resources to responding to the concerns of people whose homes are at risk has stimulated fire protection planners to account for potential changes in people's well-being beyond what is reflected by insured value. Knowing the perceived value of an increase in collective (agency-provided) fire protection that achieves a risk reduction target can contribute much to policy debates on the restructuring and funding of fire protection infrastructure and fuel management.

To evaluate the utility of contingent valuation for assessing such risk reduction value, the value of collective fire protection at the wildland-urban interface was assessed for residents of a Michigan jack pine forest. Seventy-five percent of the 265 residents interviewed chose to participate in a hypothetical market for a 50% reduction in risk and, on average, were willing to pay over $57 a year for such risk reduction. Results were consistent with a two-stage decision model: (1) participation in the hypothetical market for risk reduction, and (2) how much the risk reduction is worth. Homeowner risk perception and objectively assessed risk both influenced the probability of market participation. For market participants, willingness to pay was related to property value and household income, suggesting that value at risk and ability to pay weigh heavily in this decision. FOR. SCI. 47(3):349–360.
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Keywords: Risk reduction; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; wildfire; willingness to pay

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Director of Research Paul Schissler Associates, 1101 Harris Avenue, Bellingham, WA, 98225, Phone: (360) 676-4600; Fax: (360) 676-8500 [email protected]

Publication date: 2001-08-01

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    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
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