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Diversity and Dynamism of Fire Science User Needs

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The Joint Fire Science Program has initiated regional consortia to deliver science to managers and other natural resource stakeholders. Given the diversity and complexity of forest management and policy, there is a need to understand and reframe fire science user audiences. In this article, we assess fire science use in the US Northwest (Oregon and Washington) to describe these diverse users and how they perceive, access, and apply fire science. We found that user needs range widely and are sometimes contradictory because of their professions, roles, and relationships, as well as the networks in which they are embedded. Contradictions included desires for both generality and specificity, for social and personal learning, and for science to remain an expert arbiter even as it may increasingly come from nonexpert or potentially partial sources. These factors suggest that fire science delivery should address audiences not only by user typologies but also as a set of dynamic, shifting uses. There is a clear need for intermediary organizations and networks to organize, interpret, and deliver science. These may be most relevant and useful if they offer multiple delivery formats that appeal to the various ways that fire science users learn both as individuals and socially in interactive settings.
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Keywords: collaboration; fire science delivery; learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2013

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