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Abstract

Presently, implementing the 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy, which requires fire management priorities to be set on the basis of maximising the market and non-market values to be conserved or enhanced, is extremely challenging because those charged with implementing the policy have limited information about the value that society places on non-market resources at risk. This paper considers the problem of accommodating non-market values affected by wildfire in social benefit-cost analysis. There are substantial gaps in scientific understanding about how the spatial and temporal provision of non-market values are affected by wildfire, and considerable challenges in evaluating social welfare change arising from specific wildfire events. This presents serious impediments to adapting price-based decision-support tools, such as the National Fire Management Analysis System, to meaningfully incorporate non-market values. An alternative decision-support framework is proposed that measures departure from the historic range and variability of ecological conditions for those non-market values that are particularly resistant to price-based analysis.

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