Cost-effective fuel treatment planning: Theoretical justification and case study

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Modelling the spatial prioritization of fuel treatments and their net effect on values at risk is an important area for applied work as economic damages from wildfire continue to grow. We model and demonstrate a cost-effective fuel treatment planning algorithm using two ecosystem services as benefits for which fuel treatments are prioritized. We create a surface of expected fuel treatment costs to incorporate the heterogeneity in factors affecting the revenue and costs of fuel treatments, and then prioritize treatments based on a cost-effectiveness ratio to maximize the averted loss of ecosystem services from fire. We compare treatment scenarios that employ cost-effectiveness with those that do not, and use common tools and models in a case study of the Sisters Ranger District on the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon.

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