October 25, 2023

Spatial optimization and tradeoffs of alternative forest management scenarios in Macedonia, Greece

Authors: P. Palaiologou, K. Kalabokidis, A.A. Ager, S. Galatsidas, L. Papalampros and M. A. Day

Year: 2021

Journal: Forests

Abstract: Managing forests has been demonstrated to be an efficient strategy for fragmenting fuels and for reducing fire spread rates and severity. However, large-scale analyses to examine operational aspects of implementing different forest management scenarios to meet fire governance objectives are nonexistent for many Mediterranean countries. In this study we described an optimization framework to build forest management scenarios that leverages fire simulation, forest management, and tradeoff analyses for forest areas in Macedonia, Greece. We demonstrated the framework to evaluate five forest management priorities aimed at (1) protection of developed areas, (2) optimized commercial timber harvests, (3) protection of ecosystem services, (4) fire resilience, and (5) reducing suppression difficulty. Results revealed that by managing approximately 33,000 ha across all lands in different allocations of 100 projects, the area that accounted for 16% of the wildfire exposure to developed areas was treated while harvesting 2.5% of total wood volume. The treatments also reduced fuels on the area that are responsible for 3% of the potential fire impacts to sites with important ecosystem services, while suppression difficulty and wildfire transmission to protected areas attainment was 4.5% and 16%, respectively. We also tested the performance of multiple forest district management priorities when applying a proposed four-year fuel treatment plan that targeted achieving high levels of attainment by treating less area but strategically selected lands. Sharp management tradeoffs were observed among all management priorities, especially for harvest production compared with suppression difficulty, the protection of developed areas, and wildfire exposure to protected areas.




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