October 25, 2023

An assessment of forest and woodland restoration priorities to address wildfire risk in New Mexico

Authors: M. A. Day, R. Houtman, P. Belavenutti, C. Ringo, A. A. Ager and S. Bassett

Year: 2021

Journal: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Abstract: The New Mexico Shared Stewardship Agreement created a framework to allow for the State of New Mexico and the USDA Forest Service to collaboratively identify mutual restoration goals to respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing the communities, landscapes, and natural and cultural resources of New Mexico. We used scenario planning to evaluate where forest management could achieve multiple shared restoration objectives, in particular, to reduce wildfire risk to water supply and quality; communities and infrastructure; and biodiversity. The results showed clusters of planning areas that were sources of substantial wildfire risk that span ownerships and forest types. Within a planning area there was a tradeoff between locating treatments to address wildfire risk to communities versus locating them in areas that will best reduce wildfire risk to water quality/supply. However, among planning areas the potential to treat two restoration priorities was often correlated, meaning that if you pick a planning area that is high risk for water quality/supply it will also be high risk to communities. The results also showed that risk was concentrated on particular ownerships within planning areas rather than spread out across multiple jurisdictions in terms of the areas identified for treatment in the modeling. Thus, planning areas are not necessarily compromised by not being cross-boundary. This report was intended as a decision support framework to prioritize planning areas, identify cross-boundary opportunities, and provide a wide array of maps and graphic outputs upon which to further develop active forest management programs.

Link: https://doi.org/10.2737/RMRS-GTR-423




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