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Assessing expected economic losses from wildfires in eucalypt plantations of western Brazil

Abstract : The increasing demand for pulpwood promotes the rapid expansion of eucalypt plantations over fire-prone savannas in western Brazil. Currently, large wildfires pose a real threat to these commercial plantations, disrupting the supply chain. Forest managers lack site-specific quantitative assessments to inform large scale harvesting plans and cost-effective risk reduction programs. In this study, we combined wildfire likelihood estimates with potential fire effects to assess stand-level expected economic losses in eucalypt plantations across a savanna enclave in western Brazil. Here, we used the minimum travel time fire spread algorithm to predict the annual burn probability (aBP). The economic loss was estimated combining pixel-level aBP with the associated forest value according to the raw material market value, the management cost cash flow, and the harvesting rotation period. Young eucalypt stands (< 2 yr) attained the highest wildfire likelihood values, whereas intermediate-age to mature plantations (> 4 yr) showed the largest economic losses (> 400 US$ ha−1 yr−1). Our findings suggest that local forest managers should expect a 1.75% of annual losses in terms of raw material provision, equivalent to some 20 million US$ yr−1. Fuel reduction programs focusing on aBP hotspots plus ignition prevention along the forest interfaces would reduce risk to eucalypt plantations. In addition, environmental policies related to ignition mitigation and correct usage of fire across grasslands might be developed to attenuate the risk. This study implements a methodological framework that would allow comparing alternative wildfire risk management strategies in South American tropical savanna where revenue from forest systems is a fundamental source of income for local economies.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 5:11:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:44:46 PM




Luiz Felipe Galizia, Fermín Alcasena, Gabriel Prata, Marcos Rodrigues. Assessing expected economic losses from wildfires in eucalypt plantations of western Brazil. Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, 2021, 125, pp.102405. ⟨10.1016/j.forpol.2021.102405⟩. ⟨hal-03319666⟩



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