In recent years wildland fires have become more widespread with significant ecological, social, and economic impacts. Fewer than 5% of all fires account for the majority of area burned and the costs of fire suppression. We propose interdisciplinary research to quantifying the biogeoscientific (biophysical, biogeochemical, and biogeographical) and societal impacts of extreme wildland fires at community and regional scales in the US northern Rockies. The complex terrain in the northern Rockies offers steep environmental and social gradients to understand how and why landscapes change in response to extreme disturbances, as well as the social and environmental implications of those changes. The social gradient includes wildland interface community experience, while the environmental gradient covers aridlands, such as shrublands and grasslands, to mesic mixed conifer forests and subalpine ecosystems. Fires in these systems result in varying public and policy maker experiences and land management decisions in forested and rangeland ecosystems.
The goals of this research include:
The entire proposal for project work can be viewed here (pdf).