USDA Forest Service

Economic Aspects of Forest Management on Public Lands


Mailing Address:

Forestry Sciences Lab
800 E. Beckwith Ave
Missoula, Montana 59801

(406) 542-4150

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Improving Identification of Values at Risk

1) Wildland Fire Decision Support Systems (WFDSS)
The WFDSS project focuses on developing decision support tools that aid land managers in making well informed strategic plans regarding wildland fire. The increasing complexity of fire management requires improved decision support tools beyond what the current Wildland Fire Situation Analysis (WFSA) provides. Advances in fire behavior modeling, geospatial analysis and data, fire behavior modeling and other tools provides opportunities to advance decision support tools that can improve strategic fire management decision making. This project will develop economic models to evaluate the resource values threatened by wildland fire using a spatial framework that integrates improved fire behavior models. Additionally, cost models will be developed that could improve estimation of expected fire suppression costs.

Principal Investigators:
David Calkin (RMRS-4802)
Mark Finney (RMRS-4401)
Krista Gebert (RMRS-4802)
Jingjing Liang (University of Montana)

2) Burned Area Emergency Response
The increased scrutiny of all wildfire related expenditures requires improvements in cost-benefit accounting systems including methods to assess values-at-risk. Working under very tight timelines, Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are required to demonstrate that the value of resources to be protected by emergency response treatments exceeds the costs of the treatments to be applied. Several limitations compromise effective calculation of values-at-risk: current valuation guidelines are insufficient, data to support direct valuation of specific resource items are often difficult to obtain, scientific knowledge and data to support calculation of the commodity values are not sufficiently organized to be efficiently and effectively used, and means to account for non-commodity resources are poorly defined.
This project reviews current BAER valuation procedures to determine the feasibility of developing standard procedures and decision support tools to guide calculation of values-at-risk and improve pre-incident planning to facilitate rapid, well-organized, response. The objectives of this project are being met through literature review, direct observation and interview of BAER personnel, and on-line research with follow-up interviews to discover and evaluate potentially useful databases.

Principal Investigators:
David Calkin (RMRS-4802)
Kevin Hyde (METI)
Greg Jones (RMRS-4802)
Pete Robichaud (RMRS-4702)

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USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station
Last Modified: December 14, 2006
Modified by: Janet Sullivan

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