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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Modeling Wildfire Mitigation and Ecological Restoration on the Urban-Wildland Interface of Colorado

EPA Grant Number: U915889
Title: Modeling Wildfire Mitigation and Ecological Restoration on the Urban-Wildland Interface of Colorado
Investigators: Platt, Rutherford V.
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $85,382
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001)
Research Category: Fellowship - Geography , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration



In response to the catastrophic wildfires of 2000 and 2002, many wide-reaching policies were enacted, including the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003. Such policies often fund mechanical thinning projects to both reduce the threat of wildfire (wildfire mitigation) and to restore forest health (ecological restoration). The objectives of this research project are to: (1) determine whether these two goals can be accomplished simultaneously in the urban-wildland interface of Boulder County, Colorado; and (2) evaluate whether these goals could be compatible under alternative scenarios of land use policy, forest management, and climate.


A primary tool of this research project is a geographic information system-based model called "Wildfire Hazard Mitigation/Exurban Development" (WHAMED). The model suggests that the goals of wildfire mitigation and ecological restoration may be accomplished simultaneously in only a small fraction of the montane zone, primarily on open space and private land. Changes in land use and forest policy may have a modest ability to direct future mechanical thinning to areas where both goals could be accomplished. Elsewhere, policymakers should be clear and realistic about the objectives of mechanical thinning.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, wildfires, ecological restoration, wildfire mitigation, Colorado, land use, forest management, climate, forest policy, policymaking, mechanical thinning., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, State, Forestry, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecology and Ecosystems, agroforestry models, forest management, land use model, forest ecosystem, ecological models, deforestation, Colorado (CO), land management

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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