5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Thursday, 20 November 2003: 8:00 AM
Fuels planning: Science synthesis and integration. An interagency research/management partnership to support the Ten-Year Fire Plan in the Dry Forests of the Interior West
Russell T. Graham, USDA Forest Service, Moscow, ID; and S. M. McCaffrey
Fuels planning: Science synthesis and integration. An interagency research/management partnership to support the Ten-Year Fire Plan in the Dry Forests of the Interior West

Leaders: Russell T. Graham, Synthesis Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Moscow, ID Sarah M. McCaffrey, Deputy Synthesis Leader, USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, Evanston, IL

This effort will produce a peer-reviewed synthesis and integration of the scientific knowledge about fuels treatments in dry forests/wildland-urban interface areas of the Western US and it deliver to planning teams in the Forest Service and the Department of Interior bureaus. This synthesis will represent the current level of understanding of scientific knowledge and uncertainties (knowledge gaps) relevant to key management questions underlying implementation of the Ten-Year Fire Plan. The synthesis will represent the collective judgment of the most knowledgeable scientific experts in silviculture, fire behavior, fire ecology, social science, and other fields. Target audiences for the products of this effort include fuels management specialists, resource specialists, planning team leaders and ultimately the line officers that make decisions based on their recommendations. This proposed initiative will demonstrate a model for more effective integration, delivery, and application of science relevant to other important issues in fire and forest health management.

The benefits of this effort include: • Greater efficiency in environmental analyses by helping field planning teams catch up with the relevant bodies of science and by alleviating project-level planning teams of the burden of collecting and synthesizing disparate and rapidly emerging scientific findings. • Higher quality decision making, due to more complete access to relevant scientific information and a clearer and thoroughly reviewed logic for evaluating alternatives. • Blueprint for more productive relationships between management and research. • Testing a potentially more effective approach for packaging and delivery of science findings. • Making lasting changes in the way fuels analyses are conducted by introducing new methods and tools for evaluating treatment effects, trade-offs, and interactions.

Synthesis Teams • Forest structure and fire behavior: Leader, Dave Peterson USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Experiment Station, Seattle, WA. Influence of stand and landscape structural changes made by fuels and restoration treatments on elements of fire behavior. • Treatment effects: Leader, Elaine Sutherland, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT. Effects of fuel and restoration treatments on environmental resources and values such as human structures, fish, wildlife, and T&E species habitat, air quality, carbon sequestration balances and dynamics, water resources and hydrological processes, and invasive species populations. • Economic uses of material. Leader, Jamie Barbour, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Experiment Station, Portland, OR. Provide information on the economic trade-offs among fuels reduction treatments and the ability of forested landscapes to produce a range of amenity and commodity outputs. Simplify methods to evaluate the financial aspects of prescribed burning and mechanical fuels reduction treatments. Evaluate opportunities to use wood removed in treating fuels and restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. • Public understanding, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors: Leader Pam Jakes, USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station, St. Paul, MN. Public understanding, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior relevant to fuel treatments and structural vulnerability measures (i.e. FIREWISE practices), methods for communicating risk, and ways to incorporate the public’s values into the design and communication of fuel treatment programs. • Integration. Characterization of the implications of the synthesis results (above) for key management decisions. These implications will include interactions among findings, possibilities of cumulative effects and uncertainties, variations in spatial and temporal applicability, and key tradeoffs.

Each synthesis team will produce one or more synthesis documents. In addition, the leadership team will produce a separate integration report. All documents will be produced in a clear, understandable style and format for ready access by planning teams. Documents will contain narrative interpretation and implications that managers and communities could consider in designing and implementing fuels programs and projects. Interim products will be available by September 2003 with the final products available by September 2004.

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