Not Getting Burned: The Importance of Fire Prevention in Forest Management

Gregory S. Amacher, Arun S. Malik and Robert G. Haight


We extend existing stand-level models of forest landowner behavior in the presence of fire risk to include the level and timing of fuel management activities. These activities reduce losses if a stand ignites. Based on simulations, we find the standard result that fire risk reduces the optimal rotation age does not hold when landowners use fuel management. Instead, the optimal rotation age rises as fire risk increases. The optimal planting density decreases. The level of intermediate fuel treatment, but not its timing, is sensitive to the magnitude of fire risk. Cost-sharing is shown to be an effective instrument for encouraging fuel treatment. (JEL Q23)