Understanding and Managing Sudden Oak Death in California

2.3.2. Developing Overall Priority Rankings

Sites can be prioritized by comparing their potential management opportunities, loss of resource benefits, SOD risk, and hazards. If you have a limited number of sites, ranking them may only require a quick mental review of these factors. If you have many sites, it may be helpful to use a numeric rating system to develop priority scores for each site. You can then compare sites based on their priority scores. Priority scores for areas can also be displayed on a map for further consideration. It may be more efficient to treat several adjacent sites rather than scattered sites with similar priority scores. Sidebar 2-5—Developing a Numeric Priority Ranking Scale describes a method for creating numeric ratings from the matrix in table 2-7.

When considering large tracts of at-risk forests, land managers may feel that nothing can be done that will have a significant impact and that SOD should just be allowed to "run its course." However, costs that will be incurred due to SOD-related mortality could outweigh the costs of targeted SOD management activities. Prioritization helps you break down a seemingly impossible task - protecting extensive forest resources from SOD - into viable projects that can be addressed in a logical order.