Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): David E. CalkinMatthew P. ThompsonMark A. Finney
    Date: 2015
    Source: Forest Ecosystems. 2:9. doi: 10.1186/s40663-015-0033-8.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.18 MB)

    Description

    Over the last two decades wildfire activity, damage, and management cost within the US have increased substantially. These increases have been associated with a number of factors including climate change and fuel accumulation due to a century of active fire suppression. The increased fire activity has occurred during a time of significant ex-urban development of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) along with increased demand on water resources originating on forested landscapes. These increased demands have put substantial pressure on federal agencies charged with wildfire management to continue and expand the century old policy of aggressive wildfire suppression. However, aggressive wildfire suppression is one of the major factors that drive the increased extent, intensity, and damage associated with the small number of large wildfires that are unable to be suppressed. In this paper we discuss the positive feedback loops that lead to demands for increasing suppression response while simultaneously increasing wildfire risk in the future. Despite a wealth of scientific research that demonstrates the limitations of the current management paradigm pressure to maintain the existing system are well entrenched and driven by the existing social systems that have evolved under our current management practice. Interestingly, US federal wildland fire policy provides considerable discretion for managers to pursue a range of management objectives; however, societal expectations and existing management incentive structures result in policy implementation that is straining the resilience of fire adapted ecosystems and the communities that reside in and adjacent to them.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Calkin, David E.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Finney, Mark A. 2015. Negative consequences of positive feedbacks in US wildfire management. Forest Ecosystems. 2:9. doi: 10.1186/s40663-015-0033-8.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    wildfire suppression, wildfire paradox, wildland urban interface, resilience

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/48164