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Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Condition Indicators: Identifying National Areas of Opportunity Using Data Envelopment Analysis

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This article reports the methodology and results of a data envelopment analysis (DEA) that attempts to identify areas in the country where there is maximum potential for improving the forest and rangeland condition, based on 12 indicator variables. This analysis differs from previous DEA studies in that the primary variables are measures of human activity and indicators of forest and rangeland condition in place of the traditional economic inputs (costs) and outputs. It also involves a different (ecological) production process than traditional DEA analyses, and a statistical preanalysis is developed and applied to homogenize the large and highly diverse landscape where this ecological production process takes place for the purposes of the DEA. It is concluded that, based on this analysis, there are opportunities to improve the forest and rangeland condition without reducing the amount of human activity, but not over large areas, only for some indicators, and typically not for a large number of indicators in the same place. This means that large-scale improvements in environmental condition across many indicators may often not come about without a reduction in human activity. FOR. SCI. 50(4):473–494.

Keywords: Efficiency; ecological outputs; environmental impacts; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; frontier analysis; natural resource management; natural resources; resource interactions

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Chief Economist Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service 2150A Centre Avenue Fort Collins CO 80526 2: Principal Wildlife Biologist Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service Fort Collins CO 80526 3: Operations Research Analyst Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service Fort Collins CO 80526 4: Station Statistician Rocky Mountain Research Station USDA Forest Service Fort Collins CO 80526

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 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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