Estimating the Avoided Fuel-Treatment Costs of Wildfire

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Although the importance of wildfire to fire-adapted ecosystems is widely recognized, wildfire management has historically placed less emphasis on the beneficial effects of wildfire. We estimate the avoided fuel treatment cost for 10 ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) stands on the Umatilla National Forest in the Pacific Northwest. Results show that fires in stands that show the greatest divergence from the archetypical ponderosa pine stand structure (large trees in an open, parklike stand) tend to have higher avoided costs. This is a reflection of the higher cost of fuel treatments in these stands: treatments designed to restore a stand to a desired condition are normally more expensive than treatments to maintain a stand in a desired condition.

Keywords: Umatilla National Forest; avoided costs; fuel management; ponderosa pine; wildfire benefits

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • 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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