You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Challenges in coordinating wildfire risk reduction among diverse forest owners

Photo of Forest Service scientists, resource managers, and members of the Lakeview Stewardship Group discuss management of fire-prone forests on a field trip in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Oregon. Forest Service scientists, resource managers, and members of the Lakeview Stewardship Group discuss management of fire-prone forests on a field trip in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Oregon. Snapshot : Research across a multi-owner landscape in central Oregon found that in general, Forest Service management was likely to produce forest conditions most resilient to high-severity wildfire, and private corporate management the least likely. Interventions to address key constraints to management may increase social–ecological resilience to wildfire.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Charnley, SusanKline, Jeffrey D.
White, Eric M. Spies, Thomas
Research Location : Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1380

Summary

Interest in landscape-scale approaches to fire management and forest restoration is growing with the realization that these approaches are critical to maintaining healthy forests and protecting nearby communities. A team of scientists from the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and Oregon State University co-led an interdisciplinary study to investigate: how national forests, state forests, and private corporate forests were managed to reduce wildfire losses; the underlying social and ecological drivers influencing management decisions; and the outcomes of current management on different ownerships for increasing forest resilience to wildfire 50 years into the future. They focused on the eastern Cascades ecoregion of Oregon in a multi-ownership, fire-prone landscape and used a mixture of qualitative, quantitative, and geospatial methods. The study team found that landowners engage in diverse forest and fire management practices and that these practices vary between ownership groups, within ownership groups, and within individual ownerships. Key drivers of forest and fire management decision making were: (1) current forest conditions resulting from past management and fire; (2) market conditions for wood products and desired revenue streams; and (3) attitudes toward fire. Modeling results indicate that forest conditions are heterogeneous across the study area, and in general, Forest Service management had the most favorable outcomes for forest resilience to wildfire, and private corporate management the least. The team reported some state and private corporate forest ownerships have the building blocks for developing fire-resilient forests. This research also identified possible interventions that could help landowners lessen current constraints to managing their forest so they become more resilient to wildfire. These interventions include: Retaining and developing market infrastructure for wood products of all types; Incentivizing growth of big trees on private corporate lands that currently lack them; Making financial assistance available to private corporate owners for reducing fire hazard and recovery following wildfire; Developing policies and programs that support the use of prescribed fire on private corporate and state lands;and, Strengthening social networks for addressing wildfire.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • New England University
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Oklahoma