Economic Benefit from Allowing Wildfires to Burn in Federal East-Side Cascade Forests Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1g05ff513

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  • In this thesis I examine the question: can allowing a wildfire to burn this year result in a net positive economic gain? To answer this question I created 2,500 multiple sets of paired scenarios (called a fire of interest) which consist of ignitions, vegetation growth, and timber harvest over the course of 100 years. Each set had a unique ignition timing and location. Each pair within a set was identical in ignition timing, location, and growth, but the fire of interest was treated with suppression in one instance and was allowed to burn in the other. All future fires were assigned suppression attempts. For the economic analysis, I used dollar values associated with harvest revenue of green trees and suppression costs. Timber harvests were implemented every ten years to provide revenue. Timber salvage was not considered in this thesis. Costs were incurred by suppression attempts on all future ignitions. The idea was to compare the discounted revenue/costs from the let burn scenario to the suppressed scenario over 100 years. The result was one discounted net value for each paired simulation and the data produced a large number of positive net benefits. Interpreted loosely, a positive net benefit translates to a net economic benefit from allowing the original fire to burn. I used this value as the dependent variable in a regression to test the relationship between the net benefit and characteristics that influence fire behavior. I also developed a non-monetary method to evaluate the landscape. I did this by creating a Restoration Index that compares current and future stand structure distributions to a baseline condition. The Restoration Index uses succession classes to determine deviations from a pre-determined resilient state by comparing composition and density between stands. Only ponderosa pine was considered in the Restoration Index. This thesis is an early step in a process aimed at helping Forest Service land managers determine whether there is a potential economic value to allowing a wildfire to burn. It provides the foundation for future research to expand on landscape variability, multiple spatial and stochastic factors, and dynamic programming methods.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-12-30T19:16:39Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) GagnonAaronR2016.pdf: 1072384 bytes, checksum: 9686f1b9c0b698eb5b27a14f4470a5a5 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-12-29T19:47:05Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) GagnonAaronR2016.pdf: 1072384 bytes, checksum: 9686f1b9c0b698eb5b27a14f4470a5a5 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2015-12-30T19:16:39Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) GagnonAaronR2016.pdf: 1072384 bytes, checksum: 9686f1b9c0b698eb5b27a14f4470a5a5 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015-12-10
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Aaron Gagnon (gagnona@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-12-28T01:32:11Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) GagnonAaronR2016.pdf: 1072384 bytes, checksum: 9686f1b9c0b698eb5b27a14f4470a5a5 (MD5)

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