The University of Arizona

Economic relationships of brushpiles, forage production, and California quail hunting.

W.P. Gorenzel, S.A. Mastrup, E.L. Fitzhugh

Abstract


Harvesting trees for firewood in the oak hardwood rangelands of the western Sierra Nevada foothills creates slash that may be burned to improve livestock forage production or piled into brushpiles for wildlife. The economics of these actions are undocumented. We observed a firewood harvest that created 378 brushpiles averaging 13.6 m2 and 1.3 m high, and resulted in a forage loss of 1,807 kg dry weight, equivalent to 4.4 AUM. We projected the present net value of 5 management options concerning the removal or retention of brushpiles during a 15-year period. Inputs included revegetation of burned-brushpile sites, annual forage production on areas with the oak canopy removed, burning and reseeding costs, and income derived from cattle grazing and quail hunting. The options were: (A) burning all brushpiles and reseeding the burned sites; (B) option A without reseeding; (C) burning 235 brushpiles and reseeding, leaving 23 brushpiles/ha for quail; (D) option C without reseeding; (E) leaving all brushpiles. All but option B were economically feasible at a 4% interest rate; at an 8% interest rate, only options C-E were profitable. After 15 years, the accumulated returns per hectare at 4% for options A-E were $11.67, $-3.97, $32.43, $22.29, and $23.35, respectively, and at 8%, $-17.35, $-25.74, $8.58, $3.02, and $17.98, respectively.

Keywords


economic analysis;habitats;hunting;Quercus;multiple land use;fuelwood;Callipepla californica;brushwood;slash;pastures;California;cattle;wildlife management;range management;rangelands;grazing;forage

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