Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Book - Economics of Forest Disturbances: Wildfires, Storms and Invasive Species

Book Breaks New Ground in the Study of Economics and Forest Threats Management

Asheville,NC -- U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Director Jim Reaves today announced the publication of The Economics of Forest Disturbances: Wildfires, Storms, and Invasive Species . Edited by three SRS scientists, the book offers a synthesis of new approaches to understanding the economics of large-scale forest disturbances.

"This book comes at a critical time when America 's forests face increasing stress and damage from wildfire, pests, natural disturbances, and climate change - and when agencies face increasing demands for resources to tackle these threats," said Reaves. "I believe this book offers vital information that can assist decision makers and forest managers in developing strategies and making choices that will help them mitigate today's major stresses and ensure healthy forest ecosystems in the future."

The Economics of Forest Disturbances is the first book of its kind to present a comprehensive framework for analyzing the economic effects of large-scale catastrophic events such as wildfires, hurricanes, and invasions of non-native pests. With contributions from leading government and university scientists, the editors show how existing and new scientific techniques can be applied to identify the causes and consequences of forest disturbances. The editors emphasize that economic behavior matters, both in the production and mitigation of forest disturbances. Each chapter clarifies this general theme and shows how physical factors, such as climate, interact with economic factors, such as technology or management incentives, to produce economic damages. The book, which includes several case studies, resulted from the editors' belief that standard methods for evaluating economic impacts are often inadequate for addressing issues affecting forests and provide limited guidance for improved decision-making. The book's 19 chapters seek to describe the state-of-the-art in understanding the economic dimensions of forest disturbances.

The Economics of Forest Disturbances consists of four sections, which reflect the editors' view that: (1) economic analyses of forest disturbances go hand-in-hand with ecological understanding; (2) forest disturbances are random variables that are amenable to new statistical analysis; (3) consistent accounts of timber and non-timber economic impacts (such as disturbance effects on recreation or residential property values) are pre-requisite to planning and decision-making; and (4) economic models can be used to improve decisions and set priorities. The 422-page text is academically focused and written for forest economists, policy makers and analysts, land managers, graduate students, and others in the forestry arena.

Research Foresters Thomas Holmes, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Prestemon, Ph.D., and Research Economist Karen Lee Abt, Ph.D., compiled and edited the book. The scientists are part of the SRS Forest Economics and Policy unit based in Research Triangle Park , N.C. The book is published by Springer.

For more information contact: Thomas Holmes at (919) 549-4031 or by email at ; Jeff Prestemon at (919) 549-4033 or ; and Karen Lee Abt at (919) 549-4094 or .