Publication Details

Assessing the ecological benefits and opportunity costs of alternative stream management zone widths for eastern hardwoods

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LeDoux, Chris B.; Wilkerson, Ethel

Year Published

2008

Publication

In: Deal, R.L., tech. ed. Integrated restoration of forested ecosystems to achieve multiresource benefits: proceedings of the 2007 national silviculture workshop; 2007 May 7-10; Ketchikan, AK. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-733. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 193-209.

Abstract

Leaving buffer zones adjacent to waterways can effectively reduce the water quality concerns associated with timber harvesting. However, riparian areas are also some of the most productive sites and can yield high quality wood. The amount of unharvested timber left in SMZs (Streamside Management Zones) can represent a substantial opportunity cost to landowners. In this study we used computer simulation to integrate contemporary scientific data among disciplines to develop opportunity cost and ecological function protection tradeoffs that result from the implementation of alternative SMZ widths. We quantified the opportunity costs and ecological benefits of using different buffer zone widths. We used the principles of benefit/cost analysis to compare the results. Results suggest that benefit/cost ratios range from 5.89 to 1.49 depending on the buffer zone width, the species composition of the stand, and the logging technology used to harvest the timber. A literature review was used to score the ability of different buffers to protect riparian functions. Results show that to fully protect the riparian functions modeled, 45 meter buffers are needed. The study results should be of high interest to landowners, managers, loggers, land use planners, and other decision and policy makers who need to understand the opportunity costs and ecological benefits associated with implementing different widths of streamside management zones.

Keywords

ecological functions, capital recovery costs, simulation, optimization, riparian zones, benefit/cost ratio

Citation

LeDoux, Chris B.; Wilkerson, Ethel. 2008. Assessing the ecological benefits and opportunity costs of alternative stream management zone widths for eastern hardwoods. In: Deal, R.L., tech. ed. Integrated restoration of forested ecosystems to achieve multiresource benefits: proceedings of the 2007 national silviculture workshop; 2007 May 7-10; Ketchikan, AK. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-733. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 193-209.

Last updated on: April 14, 2008