Fuel Treatments & Effects
National Environmental Policy and Review Act (EPA)
Recovery after fire
Concern over increased wildland fire threats on public lands throughout the western United States makes fuel reduction activities the primary driver of many management projects. This single-issue focus recalls a management planning process practiced frequently in recent decades - a least-harm approach where the primary objective is first addressed and then plans are modified to mitigate adverse effects to other resources. In contrast, we propose a multiple-criteria process for planning fuel-treatment projects in the context of ecosystem management. This approach is consistent with policies that require land management activities be designed to meet multiple-use and environmental objectives, while addressing administrative and budget constraints, and reconciling performance measures from multiple policy directives. We present the process borrowing from the Trapper Bunkhouse Land Stewardship Project example to show the logic for conducting an integrated assessment of ecological and natural resource issues related to multiple management scenarios. The effects and trade-offs of the no-action scenario and proposed action alternatives are evaluated relative to silviculture, disturbance processes (including fire behavior), wildlife habitat, noxious weeds, water quality, recreation and aesthetics, and economic contributions. Advantages and challenges of this project planning approach are also discussed.