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Human Systems in Fire-Prone Ecosystems

Posted on 12/08/2014
Coupled Natural Human Systems in Fire-Prone Ecosystems workshop in Oregon

This August James Millington was invited to attend a workshop in Bend, Oregon on Coupled Natural-Human Systems in Fire-Prone Ecosystems. Organised by the Forest-People-Fire research team – an interdisciplinary group of scientists from Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service studying interactions of ecological and human systems in fire-prone landscapes under climate change – the workshop brought together 25 scientists from around the world working on coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) in fire-prone forest landscapes. The workshop examined current theories and findings regarding wildfire as a natural hazard, sought logical connections among disciplines to improve understanding, and worked on a synthesis reflecting the state of the knowledge and research needs to manage and live with fire in a changing world. Key questions included: 

  • what are the characteristics of CHANS systems in fire-prone landscapes under global change? 
  • what are the key social and ecological questions/issues that require a CHANS perspective and how do they vary by ecological or social setting? 

During the workshop, participants made a field visit to a local area recently burned by a wildfire. At the sites we discussed the role of fuel management and post-fire salvage logging for managing fire in the landscapes of the western US. 


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