Wildfire risk as a socioecological pathology
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): A. P. Fischer; Thomas A. Spies; Toddi A. Steelman; Cassandra Moseley; B. R. Johnson; J. D. Bailey; Alan A. Ager; Patrick S. Bourgeron; Susan Charnley; B. M. Collins; J. D. Kline; J. E. Leahy; Jeremy S. Littell; J. D.A. Millington; M. Nielsen-Pincus; C. S. Olsen; Travis B. Paveglio; C. I. Roos; M. M. Steen-Adams; F. R. Stevens; J. Vukomanovic; E. M. White; D. Bowman
Publication Year: 2016

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • boreal forest
  • climate change
  • context
  • decision making
  • Europe
  • fire adaptations (plants)
  • fire exclusion
  • fire management
  • fire management
  • fire protection
  • fire regimes
  • forest management
  • fuel accumulation
  • Greece
  • human caused fires
  • landscape
  • mega-fire
  • policy
  • systems
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 16, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 54678
Tall Timbers Record Number: 32465
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - F
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Wildfire risk in temperate forests has become a nearly intractable problem that can be characterized as a socioecological 'pathology': that is, a set of complex and problematic interactions among social and ecological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Assessments of wildfire risk could benefit from recognizing and accounting for these interactions in terms of socioecological systems, also known as coupled natural and human systems (CNHS). We characterize the primary social and ecological dimensions of the wildfire risk pathology, paying particular attention to the governance system around wildfire risk, and suggest strategies to mitigate the pathology through innovative planning approaches, analytical tools, and policies. We caution that even with a clear understanding of the problem and possible solutions, the system by which human actors govern fire-prone forests may evolve incrementally in imperfect ways and can be expected to resist change even as we learn better ways to manage CNHS. © The Ecological Society of America.

Online Link(s):
Fischer, A. P. et al. 2016. Wildfire risk as a socioecological pathology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, v. 14, no. 5, p. 277-285. 10.1002/fee.1283.