Table 4. Feasibility of using fire to meet resource management objectives.

Community Agency National Regional Science
Resource Management Objectives Protect subsistence, including diversity of plants, animals, and ecosystem functions 1) Use fires as a natural ecological process/maintain fire-dependent ecosystems

2)Reduce hazardous fuels/ avoid catastrophic fires

3) Improve habitat

1) Maintain the natural role of fire as an essential process in fire-adapted ecosystems

2) Reduce hazardous fuels to lower risk of catastrophic fire to communities and critical resources

(Department of the Interior 1995, 2001, White House 2002)

Increase ecosystem resilience/address ecosystem vulnerability to climate change (Chapin et al. 2003, Trainor et al. 2009)

Continue with variable fire-suppression policy that protects communities while supporting natural fire regime (DeWilde and Chapin 2006)

Feasibility of Using Wildfire to Meet Resource Management Objectives High severity fire has many negative consequences, moderate severity fire has some benefits, but fire effects are largely unpredictable Optimistic prediction of multiple resource benefits, no recognition of negative consequences of fire Prescribed fire and wildland fire use are the most cost-effective and natural methods to returning fire to fire-adapted ecosystems and maintaining ecological resilience

(Department of the Interior 1995, 2001, Arno and Allison-Bunnell 2002, Stephens and Ruth 2005)

Regional Fire has not been removed from Alaskan ecosystems by suppression (Kasischke et al. 2002)

Reduced insect species diversity 10 years after prescribed fire (Werner 2002)

Wildfires can have negative or unpredictable effects on certain species (Hood et al. 2007, Nelson et al. 2008)

Burns have long-term harmful effects on caribou, studies on furbearers and their prey have shown mixed results (Pearce and Venier 2005, Rupp et al. 2006, Nelson et al. 2008).