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Keyword: uncertainty

A model-based framework to evaluate alternative wildfire suppression strategies

Publications Posted on: January 09, 2018
The complexity and demands of wildland firefighting in the western U.S. have increased over recent decades due to factors including the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, lengthening fire seasons associated with climate change, and changes in vegetation due to past fire suppression and timber harvest.

Climate change effects on rangelands and rangeland management: Affirming the need for monitoring

Publications Posted on: November 13, 2017
Uncertainty as to the extent and magnitude of changes in conditions that might occur due to climate change poses a problem for land and resource managers as they seek to adapt to changes and mitigate effects of climate variability. We illustrate using scenarios of projected future conditions on rangelands in the Northern Great Plains and Desert Southwest of the United States.

Dilemmas, coordination and defection: How uncertain tipping points induce common pool resource destruction

Publications Posted on: October 25, 2017
Many common pool resources (CPRs) have tipping points - stock levels below which the resource is permanently damaged or destroyed - but the specific levels at which these thresholds are crossed are rarely known with certainty. We model a CPR in which uncertainty simultaneously creates a Prisoner's Dilemma and a Coordination Game. This model highlights a novel mechanism through which uncertainty incentivizes the overuse of a CPR.

Systems thinking and wildland fire management

Publications Posted on: October 03, 2017
A changing climate, changing development and land use patterns, and increasing pressures on ecosystem services raise global concerns over growing losses associated with wildland fires. New management paradigms acknowledge that fire is inevitable and often uncontrollable, and focus on living with fire rather than attempting to eliminate it from the landscape. A notable example from the U.S.

A review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management

Publications Posted on: September 19, 2017
Characterising the impacts of wildland fire and fire suppression is critical information for fire management decision-making. Here, we focus on decisions related to the rare larger and longer-duration fire events, where the scope and scale of decision-making can be far broader than initial response efforts, and where determining and demonstrating efficiency of strategies and actions can be particularly troublesome.

Choices in the face of uncertainty: Study points to thresholds and framing as major influencing factors

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 05, 2017
A new paper in the journal Climatic Change highlights human incentives for positive change in uncertain situations. The research shows that humans will take collective action to address a common problem if the problem, the amount of action needed to address the problem, and the potential consequences of not solving the problem are framed appropriately.

Avoiding an uncertain catastrophe: Climate change mitigation under risk and wealth heterogeneity

Publications Posted on: April 17, 2017
For environmental problems such as climate change, uncertainty about future conditions makes it difficult to know what the goal of mitigation efforts should be, and inequality among the affected parties makes it hard for them to know how much they each should do toward reaching the goal.

Systems thinking and wildland fire management

Projects Posted on: June 02, 2016
Wildfire management involves significant complexity and uncertainty, requiring simultaneous consideration of multiple, non-commensurate objectives. There needs to exist a systems-level understanding of the fire management systems. The Wildfire Risk Management Team is examining the biases in perceiving and managing risk, and in particular how fire managers jointly consider wildfire probability contours, suppression strategy likelihood of success, and values at risk.

Uncertainty is information, too

Publications Posted on: May 11, 2016

Risk management: Core principles and practices, and their relevance to wildland fire

Publications Posted on: May 11, 2016
The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture faces a future of increasing complexity and risk, pressing financial issues, and the inescapable possibility of loss of human life. These issues are perhaps most acute for wildland fire management, the highest risk activity in which the Forest Service engages.