Fuel Treatments & Effects
The FTM-West ('fuel treatment market' model for U.S. West) is a dynamic partial market equilibrium model of regional softwood timber and wood product markets, designed to project future market impacts of expanded fuel treatment programs that remove trees to reduce fire hazard on forestlands in the U.S. West. The model solves sequentially the annual equilibria in wood markets from 1997 to 2004 and projects annual equilibria from 2005 to 2020 using detailed assumptions about future thinning programs and market trends. FTM-West was designed specifically to account for economic complexities that stem from unconventional size distributions of trees and logs removed in thinning operations (compared with conventional timber supply in the West). Tree size directly influences market value and harvest cost per unit volume of wood; log size influences product yield, production capacity, and processing costs at sawmills and plywood mills. FTM-West provides a tool to evaluate future market scenarios for large-scale fuel treatment programs with various thinning regimes that may have varying costs and yield wood with divergent size class distributions. The model provides a capability to analyze and project how much harvestable wood the markets can absorb from thinning programs over time and the regional timber price and timber harvest impacts of expanded thinning under various assumptions about fuel treatment program subsidy or administrative costs, variations in thinning regime, or alternative projections of future product demands across the spectrum of products ranging from wood fuel to lumber, plywood, and wood fiber products.