Tradeoffs between US national forest harvest targets and fuel management to reduce wildfire transmission to the WUI

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In this study we used the 79 western US national forests to examine tradeoffs between forest management scenarios targeting wildfire risk to the wildland urban interface (WUI) and those meeting agency convertible volume production targets. We quantified production frontiers to measure how the efficiency of meeting harvest volume targets is affected by prioritizing treatments to areas that transmit fire to the WUI. The results showed strong tradeoffs and scale effects on production frontiers, and more importantly substantial variation among planning areas and national forests. Prioritizing treatments to reduce fire transmission to the WUI resulted in an average harvest volume reduction of about 248m3 per ha treated. The analysis also identified opportunities where both management objectives can be achieved. This work represents the first large-scale tradeoff analysis for key management goals in forest and fuel management programs on national forests.

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