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Is Wildfire Policy in the United States Sustainable?

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Beginning in 2000, wildfire policy in the United States shifted from focusing almost exclusively on suppression to embracing multiple goals, including hazardous fuels reduction, ecosystem restoration, and community assistance. Mutually reinforcing, these policy goals have the potential to result in an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable wildfire policy that can mitigate the long-term risk of wildfires for human and ecological communities alike. Six years into this new policy, we evaluate the evidence to determine how well the multiple goals are being served. We conclude that suppression and hazardous fuels reduction receive greater attention and resources relative to ecosystem restoration and community assistance. This provides an incomplete solution to mitigating the long-term risk of wildfire, thereby running the risk of perpetuating it.

Keywords: community assistance; ecosystem restoration; hazardous fuels reduction; suppression; wildfire policy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
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