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By Boris Poff and Aregai Tecle


Many cities and towns in the upland areas of the Southwest are built in the middle of dense forests and woodlands. These forests are prone to catastrophic wildfires, which are major threats to the cities and towns as well as the forest ecosystems themselves. One of these cities is Flagstaff, Arizona. The city is located at 7,000 ft above sea level and at the foot of a 12,500 ft mountain surrounded by the largest continuous ponderosa pine forest in the United States. Because of its location, the city enjoys a four-season climate, with one of the most beautiful landscapes and serene environments. Yet, it faces major threats from catastrophic wildfire and flash flood hazards. The latter may occur in the form of rapid flows down the side of the mountain following heavy rainfall or fast-melting snow events. This paper evaluates the cost effectiveness of minimizing both wildfire and flood hazards while increasing the area's amenity and commodity resources and maintaining its ecosystem integrity in a multi-objective framework. Amenity resources include aesthetics, ecosystem diversity, wilderness, environmental quality, and the area's historical and cultural values, whereas commodity resources are timber, water, forage, and other resources that have economic value. These different management objectives, and the various groups with stakes in the condition of the wildland-urban interface, are considered in determining the most cost-effective forest resources management scheme

Year: 2011
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