Fuel Treatments & Effects
This paper presents FTM-West, a partial market equilibrium model designed to project future wood market impacts of significantly expanded fuel treatment programs that could remove trees to reduce fire hazard on forestlands in the U.S. West. FTM-West was designed to account for structural complexities in marketing and utilization that arise from unconventional size distributions of trees and logs removed in fuel treatment operations as compared with conventional timber supply in the West. For example, tree size directly influences market value and harvest cost per unit volume of wood, whereas log size influences product yield, production capacity, and processing costs at sawmills and plywood mills. Market scenarios were projected by FTM-West for two hypothetical fuel treatment regimes that yield wood with divergent size class distributions, evaluated at two hypothetical levels of administrative cost or government subsidy. Results suggest that timber markets could economically utilize substantial volumes of wood from hypothetical treatment programs, even without any subsidy. Given an optimistic overall market outlook, model results indicate potential for expansion of total wood harvest in the West if fuel treatment programs will permit significantly expanded wood supply from forest thinning, in which case fuel treatment programs could partially displace timber harvest from conventional supply sources (mainly state and private forestlands), reduce timber prices, and offset regional timber revenues, while expanding regional forest product output.