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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3571-3591; doi:10.3390/su7043571

Conceptual Framework for Assessing the Sustainability of Forest Fuel Reduction Treatments and Their Adaptation to Climate Change

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia, 355 Wild West Dr., Eureka, MT 59917-4000, USA
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 8 December 2014 / Revised: 10 March 2015 / Accepted: 20 March 2015 / Published: 26 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [727 KB, uploaded 26 March 2015]

Abstract

Applying fuel reduction treatments (FRTs) to forested landscapes can alleviate undesirable changes in wildfire benefits and costs due to climate change. A conceptual framework was developed for determining the preferred FRTs across planning periods, adapting FRTs to future climate change, assessing the sustainability of adaptive responses to climate change, and evaluating the validity of the two premises motivating this issue of Sustainability. The conceptual framework: (1) accounts for uncertainty about future climate change and its effects on management objectives for FRTs; (2) employs biophysical simulation and mental models to estimate the management objectives for FRTs; (3) uses fuzzy TOPSIS to determine the preferred FRTs for climate futures; (4) employs the minimax regret criterion to identify the preferred FRT for each planning period; (5) determines the best strategy for adapting FRTs to future climate change; and (6) assesses landscape sustainability when using the preferred FRTs. The framework is demonstrated with constructed examples for adapting FRTs to climate change for privately- and publicly-owned forested landscapes. Based on the conceptual framework, current knowledge does not allow determining with certainty whether managers’ adaptations of FRTs to future climate change are sustainable or unsustainable due to type I and II decision errors. View Full-Text
Keywords: conceptual framework; sustainability; fuel reduction treatments; adaptation; climate change conceptual framework; sustainability; fuel reduction treatments; adaptation; climate change
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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Prato, T. Conceptual Framework for Assessing the Sustainability of Forest Fuel Reduction Treatments and Their Adaptation to Climate Change. Sustainability 2015, 7, 3571-3591.

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