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Forest Service Spatial Information Use for Planning Prescribed Fires

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Forest management decision support systems (FMDSS) and geographic information systems have improved the incorporation of spatial information into forest planning. However, most FMDSS have been designed to implement silvicultural treatments rather than prescribed fire and fuel treatments. Results from a survey of 277 Forest Service employees in the western US show FMDSS need modifications to be better adapted to the needs of prescribed fire planners. Survey responses indicate that, on average, prescribed fire planners would like to increase the area treated annually by 12 times current levels. Available time windows for burning provide the most severe constraint for managers, while funding and personnel constraints were rated as comparably less important. Given these results, FMDSS may be most appropriately designed to help managers develop a long-term strategy for prioritizing prescribed fire treatments. Necessary FMDSS modifications may include different methods of delineating treatment boundaries, improved integration with wildlife habitat models, emphasis on short-term costs, and flexible intervals between repeated treatments. West. J. Appl. For. 15(4):200–207.
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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P. O. Box 8089 Missoula, MT, 59801 2: School of forestry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 59812

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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