This study compares the cost of maintaining vegetation on electric transmission right of way (ROW) corridors with and without the use of herbicides. Species of trees within electric utility's ROWs have the potential to grow into conflict with overhead electric utility lines and are incompatible with the intended land use. Electric utilities throughout North America maintain vegetation within the ROW by controlling the growth of incompatible species. Three case studies were used to compare the cost of Integrated Vegetation Management, which includes the use of herbicides to control incompatible trees to simply maintaining ROW vegetation by repeated cutting without the use herbicides. Least cost economic analysis methods were used to determine the present value cost of each vegetation maintenance prescription over a 20-year evaluation period.
This project convincingly demonstrates that a vegetation management strategy based on the principles of IVM (including the use of herbicides) is less costly than a strategy that does not use herbicides and relies simply on repeated mechanical and manual treatments.
Chemical Methods; Herbicides; Incompatible Vegetation; Integrated Vegetation Management; Mechanical Methods