Resilient landscapes to prevent catastrophic forest fires: Socioeconomic insights towards a new paradigm

Sven Wunder, Dave E Calkin, Val Charlton, Sarah Feder, Inazio Martinez de Arano, Peter Moore, Francisco Rodriguez y Silva, Luca Tacconi, Christina Vega-Garcia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Extreme wildfires are a major environmental and socioeconomic threat across many regions worldwide. The limits of fire suppression-centred strategies have become evident even in technologically well-equipped countries, due to high-cost and a legacy of landscape transformations, yet with ultimately low-efficient solutions vis`a-vis extreme fires. Many practitioners and policymakers thus increasingly recognize the need to develop novel, integrated fire management approaches that shift emphasis towards the root causes of extreme fires. Here we provide from the socioeconomic angle a collective, science-informed vision about to what extent landscapes and people could become more fire-resilient through integrated fire prevention strategies. Based on our insights from around the globe, we highlight the need for interdisciplinary approaches, multiple stakeholder perspectives, and systems thinking, so as to break down a wicked problem with complex linkages into manageable nodes of information. We illustrate this, using Mediterranean forests as an example. New fire regimes will predictably make our societies more exposed and vulnerable to the risk of extreme wildfires. Proactive, innovative strategies are thus needed to provide adaptive and cost-efficient policy responses, whether based on direct changes in landscape and fuel-load management, or indirect changes in rural development models.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7pp
    JournalForest Policy and Economics
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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