Forest density preferences of homebuyers in the wildland-urban interface

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Category: Ecological Research

Title: Forest density preferences of homebuyers in the wildland-urban interface

Author: Hjerpe, E., Kim, Y.S., Dunn, L.

Subject: Forest Density, Wildland-Urban Interface

Abstract: In the fire-prone Western U.S., the scale of surrounding forest density can be realized by homebuyers as an amenity for aesthetics and cooling effects, or as a disamenity in termsofwildfire risk. There has been a lack of academic attention to understanding this duality of forest density preferences for homebuyers in at-riskWildland Urban Interfaces (WUIs). To fill this gap, we investigated the influence of forest density onWUI house sales in four high fire-risk zones in dry, mixed conifer forests of the Western U.S with a spatial hedonic pricing model. Explanatory attributes related to house structure, neighborhood, and environmentalamenitieswere assessed, along with a set ofWUI variables that included forest density ranges at two buffer levels—a 100mradius level and a 500mradius level. Results indicate a strong preference for lower forest density at the 100mlevel, but a countering preference for higher forest density at the larger 500 m buffer. These findings suggest the need to reconsider broad approaches in public awareness campaigns and regional planning, as well as fire management policies and strategies. Preference for higher density forests implies that if left to homeowners, fuel treatments in public spaceswill be underinvested.

Date: 2016

Type: Journal

Source: Forest Policy and Economics

Identifier: 70 (2016) 56-66.

Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V.,

Format: PDF

Language: English