Climate & Fire & Adaptation
Across the globe, a network of national parks, nature reserves, and wilderness areas provides necessary refuge for the world’s biodiversity, and yet these spaces are themselves susceptible to the effects of climate change. As the planet warms, species may need to adjust their ranges, moving among protected areas over time to maintain similar climate conditions.
Here, we outline barriers and opportunities in the next generation of fire science and provide guidance for investment in future research. We synthesize insights needed to better address the long-standing challenges of innovation across disciplines to (i) promote coordinated research efforts; (ii) embrace different ways of knowing and knowledge generation; (iii) promote exploration of fundamental science; (iv) capitalize on the “firehose” of data for societal benefit; and (v) integrate human and natural systems into models across multiple scales. Fire science is thus at a critical transitional moment. We need to shift from observation and modeled representations of varying components of climate, people, vegetation, and fire to more integrative and predictive approaches that support pathways toward mitigating and adapting to our increasingly flammable world, including the utilization of fire for human safety and benefit. Only through overcoming institutional silos and accessing knowledge across diverse communities can we effectively undertake research that improves outcomes in our more fiery future.
View the Addendum.
The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy has been officially updated.
New critical emphasis areas include:
-Workforce capacity, health, and wellbeing
-Diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice
The Nature Conservancy and the Aspen Institute have spent the last year responding to this opportunity by hosting a series of workshops that sought input from all levels of government, Tribal Nations, the private sector, fire-prone communities, philanthropists, academics and other stakeholders, culminating in a Roadmap for Wildfire Resilience. The Roadmap concentrates on the two pillars of the 2014 National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy—resilient landscapes and fire-adapted communities—that require an investment commensurate with the third pillar—safe and effective wildfire response—to alter the current wildfire trajectory. This Roadmap weaves together lessons from decades of policy and practice with forward-thinking approaches that incorporate new technology and knowledge.
This Workshop is considered “mission critical” for anyone working on these issues in local, state, Tribal and federal agencies, and organizations as well as non-governmental organizations and private companies. There is no other forum in the nation that provides these opportunities.
Here, we examine recent (2010–2020) trends in human migration across the US in relation to features of the natural landscape and climate, as well as frequencies of various natural hazards. Controlling for socioeconomic and environmental factors, we found that people have moved away from areas most affected by heat waves and hurricanes, but toward areas most affected by wildfires. This relationship may suggest that, for many, the dangers of wildfires do not yet outweigh the perceived benefits of life in fire-prone areas. We also found that people have been moving toward metropolitan areas with relatively hot summers, a dangerous public health trend if mean and maximum temperatures continue to rise, as projected in most climate scenarios. These results have implications for policymakers and planners as they prepare strategies to mitigate climate change and natural hazards in areas attracting migrants.
Clearly there is broad consensus that society should manage wildlands to avoid severe wildfire impacts. But how else should a society invest in risk reduction? What are the primary drivers of risk? Where are the dominant impacts we are trying to avoid? What are our primary objectives in managing wildfire? How do we create social change to meet those objectives? These are serious questions that we often get wrong because of our laser focus on public lands forests.
Better wildland fire governance is needed to protect biodiversity, foster carbon sequestration and healthy forests and assure they are providing goods and services that do not vanish in wildfire smoke.
As Chairman and on behalf of the Organizing Committee of the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference we invite you to come to Portugal with your knowledge, insights, and thoughts. We welcome you to contribute with your institutional or professional case study, your scientific work or your operational success or failure in tackling complexity and uncertainty when governing or managing wildfire risk.
At Porto, you will have a lifetime influencing professional experience, through the opportunity to meet with thousands of people coming from all over the world. We all share similar problems and are deeply committed to work on the solutions.
We will be honored to host you at Porto, to discuss and participate in defining Governance principles towards the development an international framework. We believe that your piece of the puzzle will matter to help your nation and all nations to be better prepared to deal with the challenges ahead of us and to build fire-resilient landscape and societies.
TIAGO MARTINS DE OLIVEIRA
Chairman of the AGIF Board of Directors
Presenter: Brian Palik
Description: There is increasing momentum to implement conservation and management approaches that adapt forests to climate change so as to sustain ecosystem functions. These range from actions designed to increase the resistance of current composition and structure to negative impacts to those designed to transition forests to substantially different characteristics. A component of many adaptation approaches will likely include assisted migration of future climate-adapted tree species or genotypes. While forest-assisted migration (FAM) has been discussed conceptually and examined experimentally for almost a decade, operationalizing FAM (i.e., routine use in forest conservation and management projects) lags behind the acceptance of the need for climate adaptation. As the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in climate change increases, FAM may need to become an integral management tool to reduce long-term risks to ecosystem function, despite real and perceived barriers for its implementation. In this webinar, we will discuss the concept of operational-scale FAM and why it remains a controversial, not yet widely adopted component of climate adaptation. We will present three case studies of operational-scale FAM to illustrate how the practice can be approached pragmatically within an adaptation framework despite the barriers to acceptance. Finally, we will discuss a path toward advancing the wide use of operational-scale FAM.