Wildfire Risk Management in a Landscape with Fragmented Ownership and Spatial Interactions

Gwenlyn M. Busby, Heidi J. Albers and Claire A. Montgomery


This article examines how the spatial configuration of forest ownership influences risk-mitigating behavior of public and private forestland owners over time. We use a game theoretic framework to examine how the public landowner’s investment in fuel management influences, and is influenced by, decisions made by private forestland owners. We find that spatial configuration and location affect the timing and amount of fuel treatment on the landscape. There is less investment in fuel management on landscapes characterized by fragmented ownerships. We also find that the type of strategic interaction between landowners depends critically on the shape of the wildfire damage function. (JEL Q23, Q24)

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