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Accelerated restoration: new landscape tools to prioritize projects and analyze tradeoffs

Posted date: March 25, 2014
Publication Year: 
2014
Authors: Ager, Alan; Meznarich, Paul
Publication Series: 
Science Findings
Source: Science Findings 159. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.

Abstract

The catastrophic fires and tragic losses during the 2013 fire season have resulted in many discussions about fire management policies aimed at protecting communities and restoring fire-resilient forests from the growing incidence of severe wildfires. Forest Service scientist Alan Ager has been exploring how concepts in spatial ecology and operations research can be used to better prioritize fuel management and restoration projects and design landscape fuel treatment strategies. This work has yielded a new model and software program called the Landscape Treatment Designer (LTD) and a case study of its application on a fire-prone, dry-forest landscape within the Deschutes National Forest. In this specific study, Ager used the LTD to test a new prioritization scheme in which treatments were used to build “lowhazard fire containers” that optimize the future use of prescribed and natural fire to maintain long-term fire resiliency in dry forests. The program has since been used to explore prioritization strategies at a range of scales, from Forest Service ranger districts to multi-state regions. LTD allows planners to quickly test different strategies in terms of management priorities, tolerance of fire risk or loss, implementation time frames, and budget constraints. The analyses can reveal tradeoffs associated with particular management decisions.

Citation

Ager, Alan; Meznarich, Paul. 2014. Accelerated restoration: new landscape tools to prioritize projects and analyze tradeoffs. Science Findings 159. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.
Research Topics: 
Fire effects on environment; Fire
National Strategic Program Areas: 
Wildland Fire and Fuels