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Individual Highlight

The Landscape Treatment Designer Leads to Optimal Restoration Scenarios

Photo of Outputs from the Landscape Treatment Designer showing planning area priorities for treating ecological departure (A) versus wildfire transmission to the urban interface (B) for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeastern Oregon. The program can quickly prioritize planning areas and perform trade-off analysis between alternative restoration scenarios. USDA Forest ServiceOutputs from the Landscape Treatment Designer showing planning area priorities for treating ecological departure (A) versus wildfire transmission to the urban interface (B) for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeastern Oregon. The program can quickly prioritize planning areas and perform trade-off analysis between alternative restoration scenarios. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The Landscape Treatment Designer can be used at a range of scales to prioritize management activities and understand policy tradeoffs associated with specific restoration goals. The work quantifies tradeoffs and conflicts associated with multi-faceted restoration programs on national forests. Understanding these trade-offs as part of the collaborative planning process can facilitate the development of optimal restoration scenarios to meet the socio-ecological goals of accelerated restoration programs.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Ager, Alan 
Research Location : Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 827

Summary

The large backlog of active restoration needs on national forests in Oregon and Washington has stimulated interest in new ways to prioritize projects and improve the efficiency of restoration and fuel management programs. Current prioritization relies on ad hoc methods that vary widely among the forests and typically involves pondering over many maps and blending spatial depictions of restoration goals with local knowledge. Tools and methods to examine a range of planning scenarios in terms of constraints, budgets, and spatial planning options do not exist.

Forest Service scientists demonstrated a new approach to prioritize planning areas and identify tradeoffs with respect to ecological restoration, forest health, wildland urban interface (WUI) fire protection, and wood production on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in eastern Oregon. They used the Landscape Treatment Designer, a spatial optimization program, to quantify tradeoffs among restoration goals and prioritize planning areas on the forest.

The demonstration yielded several outcomes: (1) The Wallowa Whitman National Forest incorporated the results into its 5-year program of work; (2) The analysis was presented to the local collaborative group to illustrate specific tradeoffs in their restoration program, and explain the rationale for prioritizing future restoration projects; and (3) The forest developed a comprehensive understanding of the variation among and within its 42 planning areas in restoration need and potential to address socioeconomic issues.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Region 6, Washington Office State and Private Forestry