Welcome to the Human Dimensions Program
Mission: Provide scientifically rigorous research methods,
knowledge, and results to improve the understanding and integration
of social and economic values and effects with ecosystem processes
in natural resource planning and decision-making for both public
and private land management.
RAVAR is the primary fire economics tool within the Wildland Fire Decision
Support System (WFDSS). RAVAR was developed at the Rocky Mountain
Research Station's Missoula Forestry Sciences Lab. RAVAR identifies
the primary resource values threatened by ongoing large fire events.
RAVAR is typically integrated with the FSPro model to identify the
likelihood of different resources being impacted in the potential
fire path of an ongoing event but can be linked to any expected
fire spread polygon.
Scientists with the Human Dimensions program are active in Climate Change Research. Dr. Linda Joyce is on several panels and committees concerned with the potential impacts of climate change on our forests and the necessary adjustments to management that such changes will demand.
Due to growing fire suppression costs and the lack
of a quantifiable performance measure for suppression expenditures,
Congress directed the Forest Service to develop, in collaboration with
the Department of Interior, such a measure and began reporting in FY
The Stratified Cost Index (SCI) was developed by economists at RMRS, and
subsequently was adopted as a performance measure in FY 2006; the DOI has
adopted SCI, but due to data gaps were not able to report in FY 2006.
Using historical data, SCI calculated estimated suppression costs of
large fires (>= 300 acres) with similar fire characteristics such
as fuel types, fire intensity, topography, region, and values at risk.
Actual expenditures on current and future large fires will be compared
to their “projected” cost as calculated by the SCI.