Discussion

Let us know what you think about any topic related to the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project in the forums below. The Principal Investigators on the UC Science Team cannot answer every post, but they will read all comments in their areas, and respond to comments as a group at each quarterly meeting. We greatly value your input!

Last Chance Implementation by Shasta Ferranto, at 4:40 p.m. on 13 July 2010,

From Ann Huber, UCST Academic Coordinator:

Good news from Tahoe National Forest - Treatments on the Last Chance Site should begin in the fall. The appeal period closed on June 22; the Forest Service waited another 10 days to make sure nothing would arrive in the mail.

UCST response to George Terhune comments dated 3/18/10 by Kim_Ingram, at 3:04 p.m. on 5 April 2010,

George,

Here is the response from the Fire and Forest Ecosystem Health Team to your comments/questions dated 3/18/10:

George: 1. " If SNAMP is limited to a focus on "the forest management alternative approved in the 2004 Record of Decision," how can it be an example of "adaptive" management? In any case, you've already gone beyond the SPLAT strategy of the 2004 ROD by including a DFPZ example in the meta-analysis, and that is entirely proper, because the 2004 ROD acknowledged and supported the demonstration of the DFPZ strategy mandated by the HFQLG Forest Recovery Act. It's apparent that Congress intended that strategy to be taken seriously as a candidate for wider application."

UCST: The land management alternatives that the USFS is proposing for the SNAMP project is under the 2004 Record of Decision. SNAMP also thought it would be a good idea to work to integrate other studies in some disciplines to produce a broader assessment of the topic. The first such study was on landscape fire behavior and effects. This effort summarized what had been done independently in other areas of the Sierra. We continue to work on the SNAMP fire modeling since this is our present charge but wont work any more on the additional projects.

George: 2a) "I agree that "a more fruitful exercise" can and should be the next step. But it should not be to compare implemented DFPZs to a theoretical SPLAT design. Since it isn't possible to implement both DFPZs and SPLATs on the same ground, the most useful direct comparisons would be theoretical to theoretical, which would not only be a fairer comparison,it would permit manipulation of both DFPZs and SPLATs over a range of conditions and assumptions. For example, what performance is delivered by each theory when different percentages of the landscape have been treated? When the first 10% is treated? Then another 10% added? Then another 10% added?"

UCST: This is a good idea but outside the of the SNAMP study.

George: 2b)" One of the largest differences that could be expected to show up would be how safely and effectively fire suppression would be supported by various implementations of each strategy. There should also be comparisons under strict and less strict rules regarding where and when management activity is permitted. Those comparisons are needed to support management decisions on how best to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, such as climate change and water supply effects, when balances must be established among competing priorities."

UCST: The SNAMP study is focusing on what the Tahoe and Sierra National Forests are proposing related to fuels treatments in their firesheds. We will work to include fire suppression modeling in our evaluations. Other ideas above are outside the present effort.

George: 2c) "Finally, there should be comparisons of economic effects from implementing each strategy, because the amount of treatment that can be done is limited by the cost efficiency of the management activity, and the availability of the workforce and industrial infrastructure to do the huge amount of work required also depends on the economic practicality and efficiency of management decisions."

UCST: Economic analysis has been a topic brought up before regarding the SNAMP study but it is not included in the approved work-plan and is therefore outside of the current effort.

SPLATs vs DFPZ discussion by Kim_Ingram, at 2:36 p.m. on 18 March 2010,

The following was sent to me from George Terhune re. the SPLATs vs DFPZs discussion:

Thank you for responding to my comments, though of course that leads to further comments and questions. 1. If SNAMP is limited to a focus on 'the forest management alternative approved in the 2004 Record of Decision', how can it be an example of 'adaptive management'? In any case, you've already gone beyond the SPLAT strategy of the 2004 ROD by including a DFPZ example in the meta-analysis, and that is entirely proper, because the 2004 ROD acknowledged and supported the demonstration of the DFPZ strategy mandate by the HFQLG Forest Recovery Act. It's apparent that Congress intended the strategy to be taken seriously as a candidate for wider application. 2. I agree that a 'more fruitful exercise' can and should be the next step. But it should not be to compare implemented DFPZs to a theoretical SPLAT design. Since it isn't possible to implement both DFPZs and SPLATs on the same ground, the most useful direct comparisons would be theoretical to theoretical, which would not only be a fairer comparison, but it would permit manipulation of both DFPZs and SPLATs over a range of conditions and assumptions. For example, what performance is delivered by each theory when different percentages of the landscape have been treated? When the first 10% is treated? Then another 10% added? Then another 10% added? One of the largest differences that could be expected to show up would be how safely and effectiviely fire suppression would be supported by various implementations of each strategy. There should also be comparisons under strict and less strict rules regarding where and when management activity is permitted. Those comparisons are needed to support management decisions on how best to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, such as climate change and water supply effects, when balances must be established among competing priorities. Finally, there should be comparisons of economic effects from implementing each strategy, because the amount of treatment that can be done is limited by the cost efficiency of the management activity, and the availability of the workforce and industrial infrastructure to do the huge amount of work required also depends on the economic practicality and efficiency of management decisions. That isn't everything that needs to be done, but maybe it would be a decent start.

UC Science team response to SPLATs vs. DFPZs questions by Kim_Ingram, at 3:33 p.m. on 17 March 2010,

George,

The following is the response from the science team to your questions and comments re. SPLATs vs DFPZs. If you have any follow up questions/comments, please feel free to use this discussion board so all interested parties may be informed.

3/17/2010

Reply to questions from George Terhune from the SNAMP FFEH Team.

1) The Meta-analysis was unpersuasive, due to the great differences among sites and treatments, which cannot be papered over with statistical manipulations.

Answer: The objective of the fire integration project is to compare the performance of disparate treatments. Thus the challenge is to construct meaningful measures of comparison. One of our attempts at comparison was with the normalized impact metric where we controlled for the percent of area treated. The resulting index does not have the intuitive meaning of the raw measures (e.g., changes in fireline intensity) but it does allow us to compare across sites. The statistical manipulations are not meant to paper over differences but to provide a valid means of comparisons.

2) Why has nobody yet done a direct comparison of the SPLAT strategy vs the DFPZ strategy, using the same terrain, fuel, weather scenarios, area of treatment, type of treatment, and modeling techniques, but varying only the pattern of treatments on the ground? After all, the fundamental difference between the SPLAT and DFPZ strategies is the pattern of treatment, and DFPZs are an exception to the Regional policy specifying SPLATs, and that exception was specifically made by Congress to "demonstrate the effectiveness" of the DFPZ strategy. It isn't enough to say "it’s effective." You have to say "How effective," "Compared to what?," and "How efficient, in terms of cost-effectiveness, effect on suppression cost and firefighter safety, and effectiveness at different levels of implementation, from a few percent of the landscape treated in early years, to perhaps 30 percent of the landscape treated after 10 or 15 years. What effect would each strategy have on suppression effectiveness and safety? If these questions aren't important enough to be investigated directly, what is it that would be more important?

Answer: The suggestion for an evaluation of multiple forest management options for one site is a good one. However it is not the goal of SNAMP. The role of the UC Science Team was defined by the federal and state agencies who signed the MOU that stated the goals of the project. The focus is on the forest management alternative approved in the 2004 Record of Decision.

The UC Science Team and the Pacific Southwest Research Station did make a commitment to collaborate in order to gain the most insight from the research efforts underway in the Sierra Nevada. The Fire Integration Study is part of this commitment. While the insights may frustrate in what they don’t do, they do support the general principle behind all coordinated landscape-level treatments. In short, their impact on modifying fire behavior across the landscape is more than the sum of the individual treatments.

A more fruitful exercise would be to compare the implemented DFPZ network in Meadow Valley to a theoretical SPLAT design for the same area. This comparison would not be perfect, but it may be worthwhile. The problem is who would design the SPLATs? A totally theoretical design (regular, louvered, rectangular treatments) would never actually happen on the ground (Collins et al. 2010). As was the case with the DFPZs in Meadow Valley the planned network differed considerably from the actually implemented network. One could imagine a similar situation with a planned SPLAT design and actual implementation. So, if a more realistic SPLAT design could be developed perhaps PSW could take on the question.

Collins, B.M., S.L. Stephens, J.J. Moghaddas, and J. Battles. 2010. Challenges and approaches in planning fuel treatments across fire-excluded forested landscapes. J. Forest 108(1):24-31.

Re. the question of an email forum on "SPLATs vs DFPZs" by Kim_Ingram, at 11:12 a.m. on 11 March 2010,

George,

I spoke with Dr. Maggi Kelly, who designed and maintains the website. She suggested that most of the functions of an email or on-line forum such as you are suggesting, can be accomplished through the current SNAMP website. However,since the website, as currently designed, does not readily support the addition of documents or videos, participants could post a link to a particular document, photo, or movie within the body of their comment.

Unfortunately, the website also does not allow for a threaded discussion, or a continuous link from a particular discussion topic. Each new post is its own topic, though they are linked through key words. So a threaded discussion could be held if users search for a particular key word to view the history of the topic.

If you have any further comments/questions re. this area of your original comments, please feel free to contact me or use this discussion board. The Fire & Forest Ecosystem Health team is working on a response to your other questions/comments and I will let you know when they have been posted.

Thanks for your suggestions,

Kim Ingram, PPT Team

Meta-analysis comments and questions by Kim_Ingram, at 11:32 a.m. on 3 March 2010,

Following the FFEH IT meeting on February 17th, I received some comments and questions concerning the meta-analysis. Because of our committment to open and transparent communication, I am posting them here for the public to review and as the place for the UCST to respond.

"The meta-analysis was unpersuasive, due to the great differences among sites and treatments, which cannot be papered over with statistical manipulations. Why has nobody yet done a direct comparison of the SPLAT strategy vs. the DFPZ strategy, using the same terrain, fuel, weather scenarios, area of treatment, type of treatment, and modeling techniques, but varying only the pattern of treatments on the ground? After all, the fundamental difference between SPLAT and DFPZ strategies is the pattern of treatment, and DFPZs are an exception to the Regional policy specifying SPLATs, and that exception was specifically made by Congress to 'demonstrate the effectiveness' of the DFPZ strategy. It isn't enough to say 'it's effective'. You have to say 'How effective', 'compared to what', and 'how efficient, in terms of cost-effectiveness, effect on suppression cost and firefighter safety, and effectiveness at different levels of implementation from a few percent of the landscape treated in early years, to perhaps 30 percent of the landscape treated after 10-15 years. What effect would each strategy have on suppression effectiveness and safety? If these questions aren't important enough to be investigated directly, what is it that would be more important?"

"Can the discussion be continued as an email forum on the web site? Can such a forum include the opportunity for a participant to post other visual input for discussion, for example excerpts from other Forest Service documents?"

SNAMP Annual Meeting to be held October 21, 2010 by Sarah Lewis, at 11:00 a.m. on 1 February 2010,

SNAMP will host its annual meeting on Thursday, October 21, 2010. The goal of the annual meeting is to promote shared understanding of the current status of SNAMP and its findings thus far and to allow for public interaction and involvement.

The meeting will be open to the public and will be either in Sacramento or Davis.

SNAMP publication in the Journal of Forestry by Sarah Lewis, at 2:33 p.m. on 25 January 2010,

There is a new publication from the FFEH Team:

Challenges and Approaches in Planning Fuel Treatments across Fire-Excluded Forested Landscapes. You can find the abstract of the paper on our website.

The abstract and color figures can be found here.

FFEH IT Meeting Location Change by Sarah Lewis, at 11:56 a.m. on 21 January 2010,

Please note that the location of the February 17, 2010 FFEH IT meeting has changed to Silo Building - Cabernet Room on the UC Davis campus. A map of the new location can be found here.

re: Challenges of AM by Shasta Ferranto, at 10:35 a.m. on 8 December 2009,

Thank you very much for your question Christine. Your question is astute and to answer fully would take a full report. We have tried to sum up an answer below. Please follow up with us if you would like more information.

Let us start by being clear about our definition of adaptive management. Our definition is posted in SNAMP’s glossary:

‘AM: Adaptive Management is an approach to managing forests that incorporates the uncertainty about the resource and treats management as a deliberate experiment to enhance scientific understanding about those uncertainties. Ideally, it is a participatory process that engages scientists, stakeholders and managers in a long-term relationship grounded in shared learning about the ecosystem and society.’

Here are some challenges we have that are specific to adaptive management:

1) Structuring adaptive management. Involving a university in adaptive management as a third party makes SNAMP unique.
Challenge: This adds yet another perspective to the usual agency-public or within-agency adaptive management dynamic.

2) Focusing on experimentation. Challenge: Experimentation is hard to keep separate from management – mangers want to learn before experiments are complete but in order for us to study SPLATs as they are “normally” conducted by the Forest Service we must not affect their planning or implementation too much. The Science Team works hard to be as transparent as possible but we are not able to make recommendations for management of the study area treatments.

3) Completing the adaptive management cycle. Challenges:
a. Due to the multiparty organization it is unknown if research findings/public input will ultimately feed into future management. SNAMP’s final management adaptation is to occur when the Forest Service plans more SPLAT treatments in the Sierra after the research is complete. However, the Forest Service is legally not able to “promise” it will use Science Team or public input for this final portion of the adaptive management cycle.
b. This project is 7 to 10, to possibly more years long. It will be hard to keep all parties attentive and allow for turn over – we will gain and lose shared knowledge. It is also difficult to assure consistent funding though so far the Forest Service, for their part, have done a great job.

4) Collaborating in adaptive management, conducting an open, transparent communication process where the pubic and agencies would like Science Team data as quickly as possible. Challenges:
a. Sharing data before it is fully used by the researchers is difficult. Also sharing data before data is reviewed by peers or published in journals to confirm validity is awkward and goes against normal academic processes.
b. Quickly sharing data with the agencies and public makes it difficult to avoid affecting the USFS treatments as they are developed and applied.

Please post on this discussion board if you have further question or feel free to contact at: karodrigues@ucdavis.edu.

Thank you very much for your interest in our project,
The Public Participation Team

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