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Abstract

Over the last century, the United States has evolved from a predominantly rural to an urbanized society with an exurban area currently referred to as the wildland urban interface (WUI). This WUI is critical as it occupies three to five times as much land area as urban areas with emerging and latent conflicts between traditional resource management and References of new residents. The effect of development on wildland fire management has received the most attentions. Increasingly, one of the most effective tools in the manager’s kit, fuel reduction by frequent understory burning, is off-limits because of safety and liability risks or public dislike of smoke. Fire risk in the WUI is greater than in wildland because there is a higher risk of catastrophic wildfire. The WUI, however, cannot be defined by simple proximity of forest to urban areas but more realistically is conceptualized as a set of complex social, physical, and biotic gradients. The Southern US exemplifies the problems of mixing urbanized land uses with fire-affected natural vegetation. Remote sensing and geographic information systems, along with spatial information at appropriate scale, will play a critical role in providing managers with monitoring capability that can also be used to educate the public about the wildland urban interface.

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Wildland fire is one of the most disastrous natural hazards threatening life and properties. The rapid growth of wildland-urban interface since last century has increased the complexity of fire management. It is important to exploit new technologies for fire risk assessment, fuel management, wildland fire detection, fire behavior modeling, smoke emissions estimation, and analysis of fire impacts on air quality. This book contains 23 chapters, covering various topics related wildland fires, including satellite remote sensing applications for fire detection and monitoring, fire behavior simulation, smoke emissions and monitoring, and fuel managements. It can be used as a reference book for graduate students and researchers interested in wildland fire study.
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In contrast to the slight decline in timber assets owned by major companies, timberland held by the entire forest products industry has expanded to over 70 million acres. It also appears that given the existing industry characteristics, holding timberland, as an integral part of the overall operations, is an important option for business success.
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Forest Service; Co-leader, State and Private Forestry Forest Resource Specialist, Southern Region, USDA Forest Service. The authors want to thank the Southern Region State and Private Forestry and The Southern Research Station for support and funding of this research, Additionally, technical assistance was provided by the Southern Group of State Foresters and in particular David Fredrick for help with fire resources assessments in the Southern States. 1 Executive Summary The U.S. South has experienced an unprecedented change in timberland ownership over the past decade with over 18 million acres of timberland changing hands. The primary sellers of this asset are the traditional vertically integrated forest products companies and the largest identifiable group of buyers is institutional investors interested in timberland as an investment. While these transactions have occurred in all major timber growing regions of the country, the U.S. South, which has the largest concentration of both industrial ownership and non-industrial private ownership in the United States, has been the most significantly impacted. This research focuses on the primary factors impacting this change in timberland ownership. We report on a series of interviews with senior managers involved in executing timberland acquisition and divestiture strategies. These interviews provide a framework to further analyze questions regarding how such ownership changes impact silvicultural decisions, fire suppression support and activities, and expenditures on forestry research. As expected, the ownership classes studied differ in their approach to these and other timber and timberland management objectives.
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In the summer of 2000, fire destroyed millions of acres of forest across the United States. This study investigates the feasibility of harvesting to reduce forest fuel buildup and produce energy wood. Cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting coupled with a small in-woods chipper provides a low impact way to harvest pre-commercial trees and tops along with merchantable logs. While CTL harvesting systems have been used successmlly with full sized chippers, it requires two or three CTL teams. A smaller, less expensive, chipper which is expected to have similar productivity to a single harvester - forwarder team and have reasonable ownership and operating costs, will allow operations to stay small and efficient. A CTL/small chipper system is projected to be an efficient way of reducing forest fuel loads and less expensive than fire suppression and stand-replacement costs after wildfire. Energy wood from fuel reduction harvesting could be used as an alternative energy source. The benefits of energy wood become more important as fuel prices increase. The feasibility study suggests that if energy equivalent values were obtained, a CTL/small chipper system could provide income rather than expense for site conversion, cleanup operations. (NTRODUCTION Most forest industry professionals agree that smaller trees will be the wood and fiber source of the future. With increased intensive forest management practices, trees are growing faster and producing value more quickly. This forces industry and land managers to look into new and more innovative ways of harvesting small trees. Fire control and exclusion have led to an increase in the non- commercial midstory and understory components of forested stands (Mitchell and Rummer 1999). Most of the national forests, as well as other federal, state, and private landowners, have problems of overstocked and stagnated stands of trees. Typically, these stands have very large numbers of stems per acre and their growth has stagnated before the trees have reached a size that would contain
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Large-scale mechanized systems are not well-suited for harvesting smaller tracts of privately owned forest land. New alternative small-scale harvesting systems are needed which utilize mechanized felling, have a low capital investment requirement, are small in physical size, and are based primarily on adaptations of current harvesting technology. This paper presents an analysis of harvesting functions and considers base machine and multi-function capabilities for this application. Several options for small-scale mechanized harvesting systems are proposed, and recommendations are made for conducting field-tests to help determine system harvesting costs.
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The productivity and extensiveness of southern forests in general, and pine plantations in particular, has placed the South at the forefront of production forestry in the United States. That industrial loblolly pine plantations are very productive is a result of researchers and managers developing and applying increasingly intensive silvicultural practices. Our estimates of the percentage of productivity gains attributable to improvements made in individual management practices are based on our collective experience, anecdotal information, and discussions with knowledgeable colleagues. Such informed judgments are based on potential productivity revealed by designed experiments coupled with estimates of how well technology has been implemented.
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Identifying areas of the wildland-urban interface (WUI) that are prone to severe wildfire is an important step in prioritizing fire prevention and preparedness projects. Our objective is to determine at a regional scale the relative risk of severe wildfire in WUI areas and the numbers of people and houses in high-risk areas. For a study area in northern lower Michigan, we first develop a spatial database of WUI areas (both intermix and interface) using housing data from the 2000 US Census and 1994 vegetation data from the Gap Analysis Project of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Then, we develop a spatial database of historic (pre-1900) fire regimes and current (1994) fuels to identify areas with high risk of stand-replacing fires. High-risk areas historically supported jack pine (P. banksiana Lamb.) and mixed pine forests with stand-replacing fire rotations less than 100 years and currently support upland conifer and hardwood forests. Analysis of the databases shows that 26% of the study area is WUI. About 25% of the WUI has relatively high fire risk. Over 88% of the WUI with high fire risk has low housing density (<1 house per 2 ha) and is classified as intermix where fuels and structures intermingle. The predominance of high-risk intermix areas with low-density housing has implications for planning effective fuel treatments and evacuation plans.
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Factors influencing the probability of fire occurrence in the south central United States were investigated using a geographic information system (GIS) and a multinomial logit model. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data at the plot level were merged with census data at the census-tract level to create a data set containing demographic, geographic, and timber-related characteristics. A multinomial logit model was employed to estimate the relationships between plot characteristics and the probability of wildfires, prescribed fires, and fires of unknown origins. Wildfires occurred more frequently on public forests than industrial and nonindustrial private forests (NIPFs). The probability of wildfire increased with proximity to urban areas and “built-up” areas of 4 ha or more in size. Wildfires occurred more frequently in younger stands and in pine and mixed pine-hardwood types than in hardwood types. Prescribed fires occurred more frequently on public and industrial forests than on NIPFs. The probability of prescribed fires increased with proximity to roads, urban areas, built-up areas of 4 ha or more, and on flatter terrain, but was inversely related to population density. Fire was prescribed less frequently for pole-sized stands than sawtimber size stands and more frequently for pine and mixed pine-hardwood types than for hardwood types. Education levels and median household incomes of the surrounding census tract had no significant effects on the probability of any type of fire. South. J. Appl. For. 27(1):11–17.
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Florida residents' knowledge of and attitudes toward wild and prescribed fire were elicited before and after receiving educational information. The results indicate that Florida residents exhibit knowledge and tolerance of prescribed fire similar to respondents of past surveys. Florida residents are less tolerant of wildfire than residents in past surveys but hold similar knowledge scores concerning wildfire. Respondents became more knowledgeable and tolerant of prescribed fire after the introduction of educational information.
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Broadscale statistical evaluations of wildfire incidence can answer policy-relevant questions about the effectiveness of microlevel vegetation management and can identify subjects needing further study. A dynamic time series cross-sectional model was used to evaluate the statistical links between forest wildfire and vegetation management, human land use, and climatic factors in Florida counties. Four forest wildfire risk functions were estimated: one for fires regardless of ignition source, and three others for fires of specific ignition sources: arson, lightning, and accident (unintentional anthropogenic). Results suggest that current wildfire risk is negatively related to several years of past wildfire and very recent site prep burning, and risk is positively related to pulpwood removals. The effect of traditional prescribed burning on wildfire risk varies by ignition source. El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were also significantly linked to forest wildfire risk, but a measure of the wildland-urban interface was not significant. Although these county-level results hold promise for aggregate risk assessment, modeling at finer spatial and temporal scales might further enhance our understanding of how land managers can best reduce the longer term risk of catastrophic wildfire damages. For. Sci. 48(4):685–693.
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Urban land in the United States is projected to increase from 3.1% in 2000 to 8.1% in 2050, an area of 392,400 km2, which is larger than the state of Montana. By 2050, four states (Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) are projected to be more than one-half urban land. The total projected amount of US forestland estimated to be subsumed by urbanization between 2000 and 2050 is about 118,300 km2, an area approximately the size of Pennsylvania. Because of this urban growth, more regional planning and management may be needed to sustain forest products and ecosystem services required by a growing urban population.
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We modeled and analyzed the economic impacts of the six weeks of large, catastrophic wildfires in northeastern Florida in June and July 1998, among Florida's most devastating in recent history. The result of the unusually strong El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in 1998, the Florida wildfires produced economic impacts of at least $600 million, similar in scale to recent category-2 hurricanes. Improved understanding of the interactions between management, wildfire, and its costs may yield large payoffs to society by identifying optimal intervention activities.
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In well-functioning markets, forestland prices capture a wealth of information regarding current as well as anticipated uses of land and resources contained on it. They reflect the valuation of current uses and incorporate information regarding productivity, standing timber capital, and the effects of taxes that apply to land and production. Land prices are speculative by definition, so they also incorporate information regarding anticipated future uses of the land and resources. A study of spatial patterns of assessed forestland prices in Georgia shows rising nontimber values in certain locations and suggests shifts in the future use of land and resources. As expected, land prices anticipate future development of forested land at the periphery of urbanizing areas. Rising timberland values also portend changes in land uses in some more rural counties. In these areas, it appears that low-density residential growth and recreational values are having an impact on the uses of timberland that is greater than previously thought. These findings provide some insights into the causes of ongoing shifts in ownership of forested land between industry, individuals, and equity concerns. Anticipated population and income growth in the South could hold important implications for both the supply of timber and the conditions of forestland in a large portion of the region.
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The expansion of urban land promises to have an increasingly significant influence on US forest management in the coming decades. Percent of the coterminous United States classified as urban increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 3.1% in 2000, an area about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Patterns of urban expansion reveal that increased growth rates are likely in the future. The most urbanized regions of the United States are the Northeast (9.7%) and the Southeast (7.5%), with these regions also exhibiting the greatest increase in percent urban land between 1990 and 2000. Forests near urban communities face a special set of challenges that will only intensify as these communities grow in area, population, and complexity.
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Understanding the implications of past, present and future patterns of human land use for biodiversity and ecosystem function is increasingly important in landscape ecology. We examined effects of land-use change on four major forest communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains (USA), and addressed two questions: (1) Are forest communities differentially susceptible to loss and fragmentation due to human land use? (2) Which forest communities are most likely to be affected by projected future land cover changes? In four study landscapes, maps of forest cover for four time periods (1950, 1970, 1990, and projections for 2030) were combined with maps of potential forest types to measure changes in the extent and spatial pattern of northern hardwoods, cove hardwoods, mixed hardwoods, and oak-pine. Overall, forest cover increased and forest fragmentation declined in all four study areas between 1950 and 1990. Among forest community types, cove hardwoods and oak-pine communities were most affected by land-cover change. Relative to its potential, cove hardwoods occupied only 30–40% of its potential area in two study landscapes in the 1950s, and oak-pine occupied 50% of its potential area; cove hardwoods remained reduced in extent and number of patches in the 1990s. Changes in northern hardwoods, which are restricted to high elevations and occur in small patches, were minimal. Mixed hardwoods were the dominant and most highly connected forest community type, occupying between 47 and 70% of each study area. Projected land-cover changes suggest ongoing reforestation in less populated regions but declining forest cover in rapidly developing areas. Building density in forest habitats also increased during the study period and is projected to increase in the future; cove hardwoods and northern hardwoods may be particularly vulnerable. Although increases in forest cover will provide additional habitat for native species, increases in building density within forests may offset some of these gains. Species-rich cove hardwood communities are likely to be most vulnerable to future land-use change.
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Understanding human disturbance regimes is crucial for developing effective conservation and ecosystem management plans and for targeting ecological research to areas that define scarce ecosystem services. We evaluate and develop a forecasting model for land-use change in the Southern Appalachians. We extend previous efforts by (a) addressing the spatial diffusion of human populations, approximated by building density, (b) examining a long time period (40 years, which is epochal in economic terms), and (c) explicitly testing the forecasting power of the models. The resulting model, defined by linking a negative binomial regression model of building density with a logit model of land cover, was fit using spatially referenced data from four study sites in the Southern Appalachians. All fitted equations were significant, and coefficient estimates indicated that topographic features as well as location significantly shape population diffusion and land use across these landscapes. This is especially evident in the study sites that have experienced development pressure over the last 40 years. Model estimates also indicate significant spatial autocorrelation in land-use observations. Forecast performance of the models was evaluated by using a separate validation data set for each study area. Depending on the land-use classification scheme, the models correctly predicted between 68% and 89% of observed land uses. Tests based on information theory reject the hypothesis that the models have no explanatory power, and measures of entropy and information gain indicate that the estimated models explain between 47% and 66% of uncertainty regarding land-use classification. Overall, these results indicate that modeling land-cover change alone may not be useful over the long run, because changing land cover reflects the outcomes of more than one human process (for example, agricultural decline and population growth). Here, additional information was gained by addressing the spatial spread of human populations. Furthermore, coarse-scale measures of the human drivers of landscape change (for example, population growth measured at the county level) appear to be poor predictors of changes realized at finer scales. Simulations demonstrate how this type of approach might be used to target scarce resources for conservation and research efforts into ecosystem effects.
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The most dramatic changes in the American landscape today are occuring at the rural-urban fringe. There is a tremendous increase in development at the fringe, yet there has been little work to identify physical characteristics of the fringe that individuals prefer. The cost of this oversight is that development may in fact destroy the features that attracted people in the first place. This work presents new empirical evidence regarding the perceptions and preferences of the fringe on the part of the people who live there. In this study, 510 farmers, township planning commissioners, and other citizens living in Washtenaw Country, Michigan, provided preference rating for 32 pictures taken at the rural-urban fringe. They preferred settings including both farm and forest. Participants also preferred housing developments with mature trees over developments with few trees, and preferred settings with single family housing over those with multiple family housing. The findings are discussed in light of the trend to develop cluster housing at the rural-urban fringe, and the implications for maintaining rural character are addressed.
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Expanding human populations may have important effects on the availability of timber from private lands in the South. To examine the effects of development on timber supply, we compared the density of populations and various site variables with expert opinions on the future location of commercial timberland for a study site in Virginia. Population density is a significant predictor of commercial timberland and resulting probability equations provide a method for adjusting timber inventories. Findings indicate that the transition between rural and urban land use occurs where population density is between 20 and 70 people per square mile. Population effects reduce commercial inventories between 30 and 49% in the study area.
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Describes an exploratory study of the relations between human-caused wildfire occurrence in the eastern USA and four independent variables: latitude, weather, non-metropolitan population density, and law enforcement (a traditional component of fire prevention). Regression analysis, based on 12 yr of data from 27 states, produced a significant correlation, explaining nearly half of the variability in wildfires with the four variables.-from Authors
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Social and economic considerations are among the most important drivers of landscape change, yet few studies have addressed economic and environmental influences on landscape structure, and how land ownership may affect landscape dynamics. Watersheds in the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, and the southern Appalachian highlands of western North Carolina were studied to address two questions: (1) Does landscape pattern vary among federal, state, and private lands? (2) Do land-cover changes differ among owners, and if so, what variables explain the propensity of land to undergo change on federal, state, and private lands? Landscape changes were studied between 1975 and 1991 by using spatial databases and a time series of remotely sensed imagery. Differences in landscape pattern were observed between the two study regions and between different categories of land ownership. The proportion of the landscape in forest cover was greatest in the southern Appalachians for both U.S. National Forest and private lands, compared to any land-ownership category on the Olympic Peninsula. Greater variability in landscape structure through time and between ownership categories was observed on the Olympic Peninsula. On the Olympic Peninsula, landscape patterns did not differ substantially between commercial forest and state Department of Natural Resources lands, both of which are managed for timber, but differed between U.S. National Forest and noncommercial private land ownerships. In both regions, private lands contained less forest cover but a greater number of small forest patches than did public lands. Analyses of land-cover change based on multinomial logit models revealed differences in land-cover transitions through time, between ownerships, and between the two study regions. Differences in land-cover transitions between time intervals suggested that additional factors (e.g., changes in wood products or agricultural prices, or changes in laws or policies) cause individuals or institutions to change land management. The importance of independent variables (slope, elevation, distance to roads and markets, and population density) in explaining land-cover change varied between ownerships. This methodology for analyzing land-cover dynamics across land units that encompass multiple owner types should be widely applicable to other landscapes.
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Ecological impacts from roads may be the rule rather than the exception in most of the conterminous United States. We measured the proportion of land area that was located within nine distances from the nearest road of any type, and mapped the results for 164 ecoregions and 2108 watersheds nationwide. Overall, 20% of the total land area was within 127 m of a road, and the proportion increased rapidly with distance, so that 83% was within 1061 m of a road, and only 3% was more than 5176 m away. For forest land area only, the proportions differed by less than 2% for all distances. Regions with more than 60% of their total land area within 382 m of a road may be at greatest risk of cumulative ecological impacts from roads. These regions include nearly all coastal zones, as well as substantial portions of the southeast US and the basins of the Ohio, Brazos, Colorado, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Rivers.
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Prescribed fire is an important tool to manage some ecosystems, yet this message is a challenge to communicate to the public. The 2,282 wildfires that burned in Florida in 1998, causing $800 million in lost timber and tourist revenues, underscore the impact of wildfire and the importance of using prescribed fire to ensure public safety. To understand public attitudes, knowledge, and behavioral intentions regarding wildland fire, we reviewed newspaper coverage of the 1998 wildfires and surveyed a random sample of 673 rural and suburban Florida residents living in counties experiencing high impacts or low impacts from the fires. The media and the survey respondents reported that the main benefit of prescribed burning was preventing more destructive fires. Media coverage and public opinion differed on the detrimental effects of prescribed burning. The media reported the spread of fire as a primary detriment, whereas the public reported harm to wild animals as the largest problem. Misconceptions about wildlife mortality suggest that simplistic messages of fire prevention campaigns need to be overcome. Proximity to the 1998 wildfires, based on county residence, did not change respondents' views of the benefits and constraints of prescribed burning, or their behavioral intentions toward reducing fire risks in their homes and landscapes. However, experience with prescribed burning and several sociodemographic factors were correlated with positive attitudes and increased knowledge levels.
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The wildland-urban interface is a zone of rapid land use change. Through planning, urban effects can be minimized so that ecosystem goods and services can still be utilized for this and future generations. The conservation of ecosystem goods and services must be a guiding principle when making land use decisions. Otherwise, the quality of goods and services will be significantly compromised. Similarly, natural disasters and their influence in shaping landscape patterns must be considered during the planning process. Without understanding how disturbances function over time, risk to both ecosystems and humans increase, and significant losses to ecosystems and human life and property may occur.
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The application of fire in the southern United States continues to increase in complexity due to urban sprawl, air quality issues and regulatory constraints. Many sites suffer from unnaturally high fuel accumulations due to decades of fire exclusion. The loss of habitat to urbanization and successional changes resulting from the absence of fire increases the importance of restoring and maintaining those remaining acres. The wild-land/urban interface case study we discuss herein includes several fire-adapted plant communities ranging in required fire regime from frequent low-intensity fires to infrequent high-intensity stand replacement fires. This area has experienced extended fire-free periods and includes tightly packed homes in subdivisions developed with no consideration of the potential for wild-land fire. Additional smoke-sensitive areas include schools and heavily travelled highways. Such worst-case scenarios exponentially increase the challenges/risks facing fire managers. This case study thus illustrates many of the complex societal issues and technical challenges facing fire managers when planning and conducting restoration burns in the wild-land/urban interface. In fact, it reinforces the notion that, when burning in the wild-land/urban interface, executing the burn often requires less effort than the planning, co-operation and co-ordination necessary prior to ignition.
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Some relationships between the EI Nino / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and wildfire in Florida are examined. Unlike many ENSO / wildfire studies to date, no particular emphasis was placed on the positive side of the ENSO. Both the positive and negative sides were equally examined. Linear correlation coefficients, scatter diagrams and line graphs are constructed to compare acres burned with indices of central and eastern Pacific sea surface temperature and pressure anomalies. The study reveals a significant relationship between anomalous sea surface temperatures and sea level pressures in the tend and eastern Pacific, and acres burned in Florida due to wildfires. The typical fire season in Florida is during the winter months, and the best correlation coefficient ("r" 0.71) was derived from the average central Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the period January through my, indicating it correlated with up to 50% of the variance in acres burned during the years examined. The study further suggests that it may be possible to develop a predictive model for wildfii activity in Florida, based on observed anomalies of sea surface temperatwe and sea level pressure in the central and eastern Pacific.
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Emerging research on human-modified ecosystems can better inform land-use planning by integrating information from ecological and social science. In particular, low-density land use beyond the urban fringe (exurban) has been poorly defined and under-studied. Here I develop the human modification framework that characterizes landscapes by the degree to which natural processes are free or controlled and landscape patterns are natural or artificial. Ecologists are encouraged to explicitly place their research within such a framework using quantitative metrics. As society's concern over ecological degradation and loss of biodiversity grows, ecologists must recognize that research on human-modified landscapes, particularly beyond the urban fringe, is not just an unexploited opportunity, but is critical to protecting biodiversity on private land.
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The results of a survey of fire management officials concerning historical and projected prescribed burning activity in the South is reported. Prescribed burning programs on USDA Forest Service and private and state-owned lands are described in terms of area burned by ownership and state, intended resource benefits, barriers to expanded burning, and optimum burning area needed to achieve resource management goals. More than 4.1 million ac/yr of pine-type forest were burned between 1985 and 1994, about 6.5% of the area in pine-type forest per year. South. J. Appl. For. 25(4):149–153.
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Wildland-urban interface (W-UI) fires are a significant concern for federal, state, and local land management and fire agencies. Research using modeling, experiments, and W-UI case studies indicates that home ignitability during wildland fires depends on the characteristics of the home and its immediate surroundings. These findings have implications for hazard assessment and risk mapping, effective mitigations, and identification of appropriate responsibility for reducing the potential for home loss caused by W-UI fires.
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A 1992 telephone survey of households in seven mid-South states provided data for comparing the opinions of NIPF owners with those of the general public. Topics explored included traditional forest management practices, governmental regulation of tree cutting to protect environmental values, and trade-offs between environmental protection, private property rights, and economic development. In each of these areas the views of NIPF owners were found not to differ significantly from those of the general public. A widespread desire for environmental protection tempers views toward forest practices, forest-based economic development, and private property rights. The relationships between NIPF owners' demographic characteristics, ownership activities, and opinions were explored. Study results challenged common assumptions about NIPF owners, questioned the effectiveness of existing forestry education efforts, and argue for a stronger, more explicitly environmental orientation in all forestry activities. South. J. Appl. For. 21(1):37-43.
Article
Census data in combination with GIS are increasingly being used to analyze urban expansion and develop models for identifying landscape change in the urban fringe. Census data are aggregated along the large-to-small-unit gradient of county, tract, census block group (CBG), and census block. The multiple scale availability often confounds the selection of an appropriate level of data in research pertinent to using census data. This study addressed the modifiable areal unit problem of census data through comparing spatial pattern and area of wildland-urban interface (WUI) determined at different levels of census aggregation (county, census tract, CBG, and census block). Total WUI area in each single year decreased along the shrinking census unit gradient from county to census block. Area converted from wildland to WUI between 1990 and 2000 decreased along the census gradient of the tract, CBG, census block, county level. The number of WUI patches decreased, and area of WUI patches increased along the decreasing census gradient of county, tract, CBG, block. In contrast to 60% of WUI blocks falling inside WUI CBGs or tracts, more than 80% of WUI tracts fell inside WUI counties, and 76.8% of WUI CBGs fell inside WUI tracts. WUI at the block level showed a different spatial pattern from those at the tract and CBG levels in that it represented more spatial detail. County-level data tended to overestimate WUI area while underestimating area converted to WUI. The study concluded that coarse sale data, such as those at the county level, were suitable for detecting a regional pattern. Fine-scale data, such as those at the census block level, need to be used in addressing issues at a landscape pattern.
Article
Timberland investment management companies and institutional investors use indexes to calculate the performance of timberland investments. Most indexes are based on hypothetical timberland properties. The Timberland Performance Index (TPI), a fund-based performance measure, provides composite returns for actual, institutionally owned timberlands. The TPI has several desirable attributes: it uses publicly available data from real properties, is weighted by asset value, has a sufficiently long historical record that meaningful comparisons can be made with other assets, and can be updated quarterly. The TPI is employed to demonstrate how adding timberland to a portfolio influences risk-return relationships for institutional portfolios. For the 1981-1996 period it is found that adding timberland tends to enhance returns for given levels of risk. This is consistent with previous research, which employed hypothetical timberland indexes for this purpose. South. J. Appl. For. 22(3):143-147.
Article
The size of individual forest stands and timber sales in Georgia is slowly declining. The trend runs counter to the minimum sale size sought by harvesting systems where increased capital requirements are making small sales more expensive to perform. Our most common systems will face increasingly expensive logging chances if current trends in sale size continue. South. J. Appl. For. 21(4):193-198.
Article
The wildland–urban interface (WUI) is the area where houses meet or in-termingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation. The WUI is thus a focal area for human– environment conflicts, such as the destruction of homes by wildfires, habitat fragmentation, introduction of exotic species, and biodiversity decline. Our goal was to conduct a spatially detailed assessment of the WUI across the United States to provide a framework for scientific inquiries into housing growth effects on the environment and to inform both national policy-makers and local land managers about the WUI and associated issues. The WUI in the conterminous United States covers 719 156 km 2 (9% of land area) and contains 44.8 million housing units (39% of all houses). WUI areas are particularly widespread in the eastern United States, reaching a maximum of 72% of land area in Connecticut. California has the highest number of WUI housing units (5.1 million). The extent of the WUI highlights the need for ecological principles in land-use planning as well as sprawl-limiting policies to adequately address both wildfire threats and conservation problems.
Article
Wildfires create damages in the wildland–urban interface (WUI) that total hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the United States. Understanding how fires are produced in built-up areas near and within fire prone landscapes requires evaluating and quantifying the roles that humans play in fire regimes. We outline a typology of wildfire production functions (WPFs) and empirically estimate three broad classes of WPFs: fire event (ignitions), fire aggregate extent, and a combination function of fire effect and aggregate extent (an intensity-weighted aggregate extent model). Our case study is Florida, which contains an abundance of both wildland and human populations. We find that socio-economic variables play statistically significant roles in all three estimated production functions. At the county level, we find that population and poverty are usually positively related to annual wildfire area and intensity-weighted fire area, while unemployment is negatively related to ignitions, area, and intensity-weighted wildfire area. Poverty is found to be negatively related to wildfire ignitions, while the number of police are correlated with fewer ignitions. These results suggest that managers and decision makers should be aware of socio-economic variables and consider them in their wildland fire management decisions in the wildland–urban interface. Our results also emphasize the importance of including such variables in statistical models of wildfire risk in the WUI.
Article
A computer modeling study to determine the potential fire behavior in pine flatwood forests following three fuel hazard reduction treatments: herbicide, prescribed fire and thinning was conducted in Florida following the 1998 wildfire season. Prescribed fire provided immediate protection but this protection quickly disappeared as the rough recovered. Thinning had a similar effect on fireline intensity. Herbicides produced a dramatic decrease in fireline intensity from year 2 to 6 but had little effect on fire severity, thus increasing the likehood of root kill resulting in tree death if wildfire occurs during drought conditions. Treatment combinations, such as thinning and herbicide may provide immediate and long-term fireline intensity reductions as long as forest managers take into account each alternative’s strengths and weaknesses.
Article
The spatial deconcentration of population during the 20th century and the resulting expansion of human settlements has been a significant cause of anthropogenic landscape change in the United States and many other countries. In the seven-state North Central Region, as in other regions of the US, changing human settlement patterns are most prominent at the outlying fringe of metropolitan areas and in rural regions with attractive recreational and aesthetic amenities. This process of growth and change has profound implications for the ecology of the region that will require the reformulation of resource management policies.We use attribute clustering of both housing density and housing growth for each decade from 1940 to 1990 to illuminate the dynamic process of housing density change in the North Central Region. While cross-sectional housing density maps display the uniformity of residential density within urban, suburban, and rural areas, historic density clustering demonstrates the spatial variability of density trajectories in urban and suburban areas, and the relative stability and homogeneity of more rural density trajectories. Clusters based on housing growth, without regard to absolute density, reveal similarities between urban cores and rural areas, where in both cases, housing growth has been very slow in recent decades. We identify density/growth clusters with high potential for future growth, which are spatially clustered on the periphery of metropolitan areas, in smaller urban centers, and in recreational areas throughout the region.
Article
Six Poisson autoregressive models of order p[PAR(p)] of daily wildland arson ignition counts are estimated for five locations in Florida (1994–2001). In addition, a fixed effects time-series Poisson model of annual arson counts is estimated for all Florida counties (1995–2001). PAR(p) model estimates reveal highly significant arson ignition autocorrelation, lasting up to eleven days, in addition to seasonality and links to law enforcement, wildland management, historical fire, and weather. The annual fixed effects model replicates many findings of the daily models but also detects the influence of wages and poverty on arson, in ways expected from theory. All findings support an economic model of crime.
Population and demographic trends Human influences on forest ecosystems-the Southern wildland-urban interface assessment
  • Hk Cordell
  • Ea Macie
Socioeconomic forces shaping the future of the United States Society and natural resources: A summary of knowledge
  • Hk Cordell
  • Jc Bergstrom
  • Cj Betz
  • Gt Green
  • Mj Manfredo
  • Jj Vaske
  • Bl Bruyere
  • Dr Field