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A Case Study on the Economics of Thinning in the Wildland Urban Interface

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This is a case study, supplemented by an economic model, of one 85 ac ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) dominated stand, called Unit 16, that was treated during the summer of 2001. Unit 16 is located in the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership's Fort Valley project area of the Coconino National Forest and is part of the Flagstaff, AZ wildland urban interface. The silvicultural prescription was a full restoration prescription anchored to the presettlement condition and was limited by a 16 in. dbh cutting cap. The operational strategy for the merchantable material was hand felling, limbing, topping, bucking in the forest, and forwarding of logs to the landing for loading on waiting trucks. The nonmerchantable trees were cut and rough piled, along with limbs and tops. The economic model estimated the logging contractor's costs to total $124,117. His total revenue stream during the summer of 2001 was detrimentally impacted by two unforeseen changes in his market. His normal purchaser of wood from small trees <8.0 in. dbh was unable to purchase this wood and his other market reduced its purchase price by 11%. As a result, his projected income went from providing a small profit of $7,857 to a loss of $3,284. Costs to the Forest Service to prepare the unit and to conduct postthinning activities were estimated to total $31,9160. Net costs to the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership in the form of a service contract with the logger totaled $17,000. West. J. Appl. For. 19(1):60–65.

Keywords: Arizona; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; fuels removal; harvesting; natural resource management; natural resources; ponderosa pine

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011-1560,

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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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