Economic Opportunities and Trade-Offs in Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration

TitleEconomic Opportunities and Trade-Offs in Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsAger, AA
Secondary AuthorsVogler, KC
Tertiary AuthorsDay, M
Subsidiary AuthorsBailey, JD
JournalEcological Economics
Start Page226
KeywordsCollaborative Planning, forest restoration, Production Possibility Frontiers, restoration prioritization, spatial optimization, technical reports and journal articles

We modeled forest restoration scenarios to examine socioeconomic and ecological trade-offs associated with alternative prioritization scenarios. The study examined four US national forests designated as priorities for investments to restore fire resiliency and generate economic opportunities to support local industry. We were particularly interested in economic trade-offs that would result from prioritization of management activities to address forest departure and wildfire risk to the adjacent urban interface. The results showed strong trade-offs and scale effects on production possibility frontiers, and substantial variation among planning areas and national forests. The results pointed to spatially explicit priorities and opportunities to achieve restoration goals within the study area. However, optimizing revenue to help finance restoration projects led to a sharp reduction in the attainment of other socioecological objectives, especially reducing forest departure from historical conditions. The analytical framework and results can inform ongoing collaborative restoration planning to help stakeholders understand the opportunity cost of specific restoration objectives. This work represents one of the first spatially explicit, economic trade-off analyses of national forest restoration programs, and reveals the relative cost of different restoration strategies, as well scale-related changes in production frontiers associated with restoration investments.