Title

Prioritizing Forest Restoration Treatments Using Decision Support and Geospatial Analysis on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, USA

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Forest restoration activities are critical to restoring natural processes and functions, including fire and hydrologic interactions. There is also an urgent need to recreate a forest structure suitable for wildlife and aquatic habitat that is resilient to disturbance events, such as wildfire and the threat of insect outbreaks and disease epidemics. Restoration activities, such as prescribed fire and road closures, enhance the resiliency and sustainability of forests through treatments that incrementally return the ecosystem to a state of resilience, while anticipating climate change impacts, including drought. This research examines a process by which to prioritize treatments areas and develop prescriptions using a decision support tool called the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS), in a geospatial analysis. Five criteria were evaluated to prioritize restoration treatments areas in two adjacent sub-watersheds on the Entiat Ranger District: vegetation condition, landscape fire movement, wildlife habitats, and a road network evaluation coupled with an assessment of aquatic/road interactions. The criteria attributes are ranked and weighted in EMDS to produce spatial model outputs that effectively prioritize treatments areas on the landscape, and suggest management prescriptions to meet restoration objectives. This method has improved efficiencies related to field work, environmental regulations, and land ownership collaboration, in addition to providing a transparent approach to decision making to meet restoration goals.

Poster Number

13

Faculty Mentor(s)

Robert Hickey

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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May 17th, 2:00 PM May 17th, 4:30 PM

Prioritizing Forest Restoration Treatments Using Decision Support and Geospatial Analysis on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, USA

SURC Ballroom A

Forest restoration activities are critical to restoring natural processes and functions, including fire and hydrologic interactions. There is also an urgent need to recreate a forest structure suitable for wildlife and aquatic habitat that is resilient to disturbance events, such as wildfire and the threat of insect outbreaks and disease epidemics. Restoration activities, such as prescribed fire and road closures, enhance the resiliency and sustainability of forests through treatments that incrementally return the ecosystem to a state of resilience, while anticipating climate change impacts, including drought. This research examines a process by which to prioritize treatments areas and develop prescriptions using a decision support tool called the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS), in a geospatial analysis. Five criteria were evaluated to prioritize restoration treatments areas in two adjacent sub-watersheds on the Entiat Ranger District: vegetation condition, landscape fire movement, wildlife habitats, and a road network evaluation coupled with an assessment of aquatic/road interactions. The criteria attributes are ranked and weighted in EMDS to produce spatial model outputs that effectively prioritize treatments areas on the landscape, and suggest management prescriptions to meet restoration objectives. This method has improved efficiencies related to field work, environmental regulations, and land ownership collaboration, in addition to providing a transparent approach to decision making to meet restoration goals.