Climate-Demographics-Management– The 21st Century Fire Triangle
5-8 June 2007, George Mason University, Fairfax,Virginia, U.S.A.
Theme and Purpose
Climate-Demographics-Management — The 21st Century Fire Triangle
Wildland fire is both an ecosystem process and a natural hazard. It functions as a disturbance regime that has helped to shape the Earths vegetated ecosystems. Those ecosystems have co-evolved over many millennia with climate change and under increasing human influence. Humans have combated fire as a threat to their well being and used fire as an accelerant for land use change. Fire serves as a non-linear amplifier of climate change, and other stressors that work over months and years, by resetting ecosystems in minutes, hours and days.
Fire is thus known in many roles: Global Process, Ecosystem Disturbance, Climate Change Agent, Aerosol Source, Carbon Cycler, Natural Hazard, and Management Tool. As a management tool it is called upon to reduce hazardous fuels, maintain habitat health, increase productivity, and adaptively respond to climate change. Future managers, faced with rapidly changing conditions, will judge the efficacy of fire use not for its ability return ecosystems to a former state, but rather for its ability to help them manage for a sustainable state that is defined by a suite of societal values.
Demographic and climate change have emerged, in our early 21st Century scientific understanding, as the strongest drivers of global, regional, and local fire trends. Demographic trends are increasing societal exposure to fire, thus increasing its natural hazard role. The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) concept has scientifically matured and is cited as a major concern in strategic insurance industry assessments. International Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Criteria and Indicators (C&I) are undergoing second generation updating and are increasingly likely to be available as endpoints for future management valuations. The eastern United States with over 70% of the U.S. population, with over 50% of the forest land (84% of which is privately owned), largely reforested over the past 100+ years, and projected to be subject to large climate change stress, offers a particular microcosm for considering fire in adaptively managing for sustainable values in the face of demographic and climatic change.
The theme of the 2007 EastFIRE Conference is consideration of the manifold consequences for fire management of anticipated 21st Century climate and demographic changes. Todays natural resource management is largely focused on maintaining current conditions or restoring ecosystems to some previous state. 21st Century management is likely to require management for future conditions that significantly altered from past regimes. While science has provided outlooks for future conditions, it has not provided managers with assessment and decision support tools needed to formulate adaptive responses for those outlooks. Current fire science knowledge is the foundation for building future solutions.
The purpose of the 2007 EastFIRE Conference is to enable participants to share current knowledge for an inclusive array of studies and to reflect on future directions in consideration of the Conference theme. Current fire science knowledge is flowing as a result of such programs as the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), the National Fire Plan (NFP), and Earth Observing System (EOS) launches. The Conference Program will be structured to include an inclusive array of traditional fire science components, ranging from Fuel Management and Fire Ecology to Smoke Management and Remote Sensing through Fire Modeling and Fire Weather. Advisory and Steering Committee members will work with the community to provide special sessions of interest on such topics as LANDFIRE and FCAMMS, and plenary emphases on topics such as Climate Change and the Wildland Urban Interface. Some unique communications approaches are being considered to enhance and extend the utility of the Conference as a sustainable brokerage of fire science knowledge for managers and researchers.
To view the Call for Papers and other 2007 EastFIRE Conference information please visit the Conference website at: