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Forests 2017, 8(5), 142; doi:10.3390/f8050142

Ecosystem Service Valuation through Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Design, Governance, and Outcomes of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP)

1
School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, 525 South Beaver Street, P.O. Box 5694, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
2
School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, 200 East Pine Knoll Drive, P.O. Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ir. Kris Verheyen
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 17 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 26 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management Strategies for Forest Ecosystem Services)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [856 KB, uploaded 26 April 2017]   |  

Abstract

The full value of benefits rendered from healthy watersheds is difficult to estimate, and ecosystem service (ES) valuation sometimes necessarily occurs in the form of costs incurred or avoided. Along these lines, social-ecological systems including Payment for Watershed Services (PWS) are increasing in frequency and can help land management entities to bridge budget shortfalls for funding needed watershed restoration forestry treatments. The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) is a bond-financed wildfire risk mitigation partnership and PWS program in Northern Arizona, the only forest management project that utilizes a municipal bond as the financial mechanism in conjunction with a partnership governance structure to invest in federal land management. The purpose of this research was to describe this new governance structure to understand the potential benefits to communities and federal land management agencies for protecting watershed services. Data were derived from document review and key informant interviews (n = 9). FWPP institutional design and governance structures were tailored to maximize community strengths and encompassed several advantages over traditional federal land management models; these advantages include increased collaboration and institutional support, financial security, and public approval. The FWPP represents an innovative PWS system that can help showcase unique community and federal forest management partnerships that benefit watershed health in western US communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: payments for ecosystem services; watershed services protection; wildfire mitigation; community wildfire protection; partnership governance; fuels reduction; fuels treatment; PWS institutional design; collaborative forest management; cost-avoidance payments for ecosystem services; watershed services protection; wildfire mitigation; community wildfire protection; partnership governance; fuels reduction; fuels treatment; PWS institutional design; collaborative forest management; cost-avoidance
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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

Miller, R.; Nielsen, E.; Huang, C.-H. Ecosystem Service Valuation through Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Design, Governance, and Outcomes of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP). Forests 2017, 8, 142.

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