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Where you stand depends on where you sit: qualitative inquiry into notions of fire adaptation

Hannah Brenkert-Smith, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., USA
James R Meldrum, U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center
Patricia A Champ, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Christopher M Barth, Bureau of Land Management

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09471-220307

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Abstract

Wildfire and the threat it poses to society represents an example of the complex, dynamic relationship between social and ecological systems. Increasingly, wildfire adaptation is posited as a pathway to shift the approach to fire from a suppression paradigm that seeks to control fire to a paradigm that focuses on “living with” and “adapting to” wildfire. In this study, we seek insights into what it means to adapt to wildfire from a range of stakeholders whose efforts contribute to the management of wildfire. Study participants provided insights into the meaning, relevance, and use of the concept of fire adaptation as it relates to their wildfire-related activities. A key finding of this investigation suggests that social scale is of key importance in the conceptualization and understanding of adaptation for participating stakeholders. Indeed, where you stand in terms of understandings of fire adaptation depends in large part on where you sit.

Key words

fire adaptation; hazards and disasters; social-ecological systems; wildfire risk

Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087