Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT)
Forest management faces many obstacles, but none more challenging than an uncertain future. What new disease or invasive species will appear next? How will the climate change and what impacts will follow? Forests are naturally complex, and in recent decades, they have become even harder to manage because of these (and other) uncertain, emerging threats. Increasing—and potentially competing—demands on forests for clean air and water, wildlife habitat, forest products, and recreation add further challenges to management.
To help address this challenge, the Eastern Threat Center and partners from the University of North Carolina Asheville's (UNCA) National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) have designed a planning framework, called Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT). Forest managers and stakeholders can use CRAFT to help reach agreement on the most prudent path to follow in the face of uncertainty.
CRAFT guides users through a step-by-step process that includes examining the values placed on forests and how these values are likely to be affected by the interactions of management decisions and future uncertainties. Users can then address uncertainties head-on in a systematic and quantitative way for a direct examination of risk. Finally, CRAFT allows users to synthesize their findings throughout the process so that trade-offs between competing values that are implicit in any decision are revealed. All of this and more is streamlined within a standard and time-tested approach to forest planning.
Visit the CRAFT website to learn more.
"Crafting Better Decisions" by Jeff Hicks and Todd Pierce, formerly with UNCA's NEMAC, appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of ArcUser magazine.