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An “All Lands” Approach to Addressing Wildfire Risk
Landscape-scale management to reduce wildfire risk in frequent-fire forest ecosystems of the western United States calls for coordination and buy-in from many diverse landowners. Researcher social scientist Susan Charnley with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and her colleagues examined multiple “all lands” projects for fuels reduction and management in Oregon and California to identify the most important principles and tools that promote collective action for wildfire risk reduction. This information acts as a framework supporting policymakers and land managers working to reduce wildfire risk across multi-ownership landscapes.
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Landscape-scale management can reduce wildfire risk in fire-adapted western United States forests; however, management of multi-ownership landscapes is challenging. An "all lands" approach may promote collective action by diverse landowners to implement strategic fuels treatments across property boundaries.
To support such management, researchers characterized multiple "all lands" approaches to wildfire risk reduction at project sites associated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service-U.S. USDA Forest Service Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership in Oregon and California.
Five principles supported successful collective action by landowners and stakeholders to reduce wildfire risk:Understanding wildfire and management actionsCommunication and coordination to develop coordinated strategiesLandowner capacity to participate in these strategiesTrust that neighbors will also treat fuelsUnderstanding that long-term benefits of collective action exceed short-term costs
Landowner participation increased with technical and financial assistance, proactive landowner education and outreach, and legal authorities and policy tools that enabled resource sharing across ownerships.
This framework for policymakers and land managers provides options for cross-boundary management, improves policy and communication tools, and identifies specific actions to reduce wildfire risk by overcoming existing barriers. This research is being used by the USDA Forest Service, universities, and non-governmental organizations, including Blue Forest Conservation.
Humboldt State University
University of Michigan