My Fuel Treatment Planner
What is My Fuel Treatment Planner?
Every fuel reduction treatment has its price. Finding that price involves sorting through a confusing array of choices. Among them are which trees to cut, what material to utilize for forest products versus treatment in place, equipment options, and what types of stands to treat. My Fuel Treatment Planner (MyFTP) is a user-friendly spreadsheet application that provides a way to think about these important questions and to calculate cost or net revenue of treatments and fuel surface loads following treatment.
MyFTP was designed for fuel treatment planners including those with little or no background in economics, forest management, or timber sales. Its area of application is in the dry-forest types of the Western United States.
MyFTP is best suited for helping to evaluate what treatments and what treatment areas will contribute to meeting fuel reduction program objectives. MyFTP can provide cost and revenue information for budget development and NEPA documents.
The most important inputs are data on the trees to be cut (species, diameter, height if available, and number per acre), and which trees are to be chipped or cut into logs. Other inputs include State and County, pretreatment surface fuel load, harvesting system, size of harvest unit, slope, yarding distance, hauling distance, and prices for chips and logs. Additional inputs are required if cost estimates for mastication or prescribed fire are needed. Agency administration hours and cost per hour and the uses to which utilized logs would go are required if economic impacts of treatments are needed. Economic impacts are things such as the number of jobs and income generated in the economic area.
What the Model Does
MyFTP provides an estimate of costs, revenues, economic impacts, and surface fuels associated with fuel reduction treatments that involve the potential for product utilization. It helps you to answer questions such as: “I have a lot of stands that look like this, I wonder what it would cost to treat them?” or “I wonder what types of stand treatments could pay for themselves on my district?” or “Can I combine mechanical treatments and prescribed fire to make treatments less expensive?” It provides for comparison of alternative treatments and alternative treatment areas. It also provides a limited ability to look at scenarios combined into projects.
What the Model Does Not Do
Although MyFTP allows for comparison of alternatives and some coimaging of scenarios, it is not intended to provide a site-specific appraisal for a project. MyFTP was designed to address treatment costs, potential for offsetting costs with product utilization, the effect of treatment on surface fuel loads, and the economic impact at the time of fuel treatment. Longer-term economic impacts could occur if fuel treatment affects other forest uses such as recreation. Current research on the effect of thinning and prescribed fire treatments on recreation and other forest uses is too limited to provide the basis for modeling these effects.
How to Obtain the Model
MyFTP and all of the documentation needed to install and use it is made available by the Financial Evaluation Software from the Portland Economics Team, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland Forestry Sciences Laboratory.