Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

Fire, both inevitable and ubiquitous, plays a crucial role in North American ecosystems. But as necessary as fire is to maintaining healthy ecosystems, it threatens human lives and livelihoods in unacceptable ways. This volume explores the rich yet largely uncharted terrain at the intersection of fire policy, fire science, and fire management in order to find better ways of addressing this pressing dilemma. Written in clear language, it will help scientists, policy makers, and the general public, especially residents of fire-prone areas, better understand where we are today in regard to coping with wildfires, how we got here, and where we need to go. Drawing on abundant historical and analytic information to shed new light on current controversies, Living with Fire offers a dynamic new paradigm for coping with fire that recognizes its critical environmental role. The book also tells how we can rebuild the important ecological and political processes that are necessary for finding better ways to cope with fire and with other complex policy dilemmas.

Excerpt

We live in a time characterized by rapid, comprehensive, and often overwhelming change. Social, cultural, legal, and physical landscapes are changing. Ecosystems, economies, and even the climate are shifting in unimaginably vast and complex ways. in such a world we, the authors, have noticed a marked tendency among human societies to deal counterproductively with these changes, to fail to cope with the uncertainty and variability that are inherent to our modern lives. This cannot be surprising, but we hope it is not inevitable.

Near the end of the twentieth century, the futurist Alvin Toffler described some of the causes of our societal impotence: “In describing today’s accelerating changes, the media fire blips of unrelated information at us. Experts bury us under mountains of narrowly specialized monographs. Popular forecasters present lists of unrelated trends, without any model to show us their interconnections or the forces likely to reverse them. As a result, change itself comes to be seen as anarchic, even lunatic.” the . . .

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