Zuni Mountains Forest Restoration Project

Background information. This fuels reduction project, which was conducted by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Rio Puerco Field Office, consisted of woodland habitat restoration in the Zuni Mountains approximately 45 miles south of Grants, New Mexico. Topography of the landscape includes mesas and canyons, with north-facing slopes dominated by stands of ponderosa pine with an open, grassy understory. Like other places in the American West, pinyon and juniper have encroached into open meadows and stands of ponderosa pine, which is most likely because of the lack of a natural fire regime. This change to the wooded landscape has dramatically increased hazardous fuels buildup and the associated risk of wildfire, which then increases ... Show More

Background information. This fuels reduction project, which was conducted by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Rio Puerco Field Office, consisted of woodland habitat restoration in the Zuni Mountains approximately 45 miles south of Grants, New Mexico. Topography of the landscape includes mesas and canyons, with north-facing slopes dominated by stands of ponderosa pine with an open, grassy understory. Like other places in the American West, pinyon and juniper have encroached into open meadows and stands of ponderosa pine, which is most likely because of the lack of a natural fire regime. This change to the wooded landscape has dramatically increased hazardous fuels buildup and the associated risk of wildfire, which then increases the risk of loss to both habitat and human infrastructure. As part of the BLM’s “Restore New Mexico” initiative, this project was designed to support ongoing landscape-scale woodland and watershed restoration, while promoting collaborative approaches towards forest management efforts. The BLM worked collaboratively with the New Mexico Forest Industries Association (NMFIA) during 2013 and 2014 to identify sites for treatment and project locations that would best promote the utilization of forest products removed during the project. In addition to collaboratively developing treatment specifications with NMFIA, the BLM was also involved in treating approximately 1,000 acres of pinyon and juniper woodlands to reduce fuel loads and wildfire risk, and improve forest and watershed health and resiliency. Treatments included selective and group thinning with slash treatment to reduce stand densities and promote diversity in the vegetative community, and preparation of the fuel bed after prescribed burning to help increase groundcover and reduce erosion risk. This project successfully increased grass, forbs, and shrub production throughout the project landscape.

The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by this project. Background information on the Zuni Mountains project was obtained from Jeremy Kruger, BLM written commun., 2015.

Economic impacts. The Zuni Mountains Forest Restoration Project was conducted in 2013 and 2014, with a total cost of approximately $87,000 (2014 dollars). Approximately 72 percent of project expenditures was made locally, which supported an estimated 1.5 job-years; $60,000 in labor income; $23,000 in value added; and $79,000 in economic output within the local economy. Expanding to include the effects of both local and nonlocal expenditures, the Zuni Mountains Forest Restoration Project supported an estimated 2.5 job-years; $103,000 in labor income; $121,000 in value added; and $218,000 in economic output in the Western States economy. Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2013-2014

Location: New Mexico

Restoration Type: Fuels reduction project

Lead Agency: Bureau of Land Management (BLM),Bureau of Land Management

Economic Impacts
Western States Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $87,000


Job-Years: 2.5 (28.7 per $1M)

Labor Income: $103,000 ($1.2M per $1M)

Value Added: $121,000 ($1.4M per $1M)

Economic Output: $218,000 ($2.5M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $63,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 72%

Local Job-Years: 1.5

Local Labor Income: $60,000

Local Value Added: $23,000

Local Economic Output: $79,000

Map
Images
Juniper and Pinyon Stands After Thinning Treatments.jpg
Juniper and Pinyon Stands Before Thinnging Treatments.jpg
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