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Forests 2015, 6(12), 4403-4420; doi:10.3390/f6124375

Prioritization of Forest Restoration Projects: Tradeoffs between Wildfire Protection, Ecological Restoration and Economic Objectives

1
Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, 043 Peavy Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2
USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 72510 Coyote Road, Pendleton, OR 97801, USA
3
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, 321 Richardson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4
USDA Forest Service, La Grande Forestry and Range Science Lab, 1401 Gekeler Lane, La Grande, OR 97850, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jean-Claude Ruel and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 30 October 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 1 December 2015
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Abstract

The implementation of US federal forest restoration programs on national forests is a complex process that requires balancing diverse socioecological goals with project economics. Despite both the large geographic scope and substantial investments in restoration projects, a quantitative decision support framework to locate optimal project areas and examine tradeoffs among alternative restoration strategies is lacking. We developed and demonstrated a new prioritization approach for restoration projects using optimization and the framework of production possibility frontiers. The study area was a 914,657 ha national forest in eastern Oregon, US that was identified as a national priority for restoration with the goal of increasing fire resiliency and sustaining ecosystem services. The results illustrated sharp tradeoffs among the various restoration goals due to weak spatial correlation of forest stressors and provisional ecosystem services. The sharpest tradeoffs were found in simulated projects that addressed either wildfire risk to the urban interface or wildfire hazard, highlighting the challenges associated with meeting both economic and fire protection goals. Understanding the nature of tradeoffs between restoration objectives and communicating them to forest stakeholders will allow forest managers to more effectively design and implement economically feasible restoration projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: production possibility frontiers; restoration prioritization; ecosystem services; restoration tradeoffs production possibility frontiers; restoration prioritization; ecosystem services; restoration tradeoffs
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vogler, K.C.; Ager, A.A.; Day, M.A.; Jennings, M.; Bailey, J.D. Prioritization of Forest Restoration Projects: Tradeoffs between Wildfire Protection, Ecological Restoration and Economic Objectives. Forests 2015, 6, 4403-4420.

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