Research Topic

Fuel Management and Forest Fires

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Fuel management is a contentious issue worldwide. Vigorously opposed by some as interference in the natural dynamics of forests, management of fuels is nevertheless one of few viable means of mitigating wildfire severity, extent and impact. Widely acknowledged now is that past policies of fire suppression ...

Fuel management is a contentious issue worldwide. Vigorously opposed by some as interference in the natural dynamics of forests, management of fuels is nevertheless one of few viable means of mitigating wildfire severity, extent and impact. Widely acknowledged now is that past policies of fire suppression have made the fuel problem worse, much worse in many places. However, for much of the world, moving to policies that support the use of controlled fire as a means of managing fuels remains a tremendous challenge. The scale of the problem can be illustrated economically as well as environmentally – the costs to governments of fighting wildfires is rising exponentially, even without considering the indirect costs associated with fire recovery, or the opportunity costs. Funding for fire-fighting is often considered to be an emergency allocation and thus rarely questioned and almost infinitely elastic. Funding for fuel management, on the other hand, is mostly regarded as part of normal operation budgets for forest management agencies, and under heavy scrutiny, especially if the forests are not used for economic production.

We seek contributions on the many issues associated with forest fuels and their management. These may range from site-specific or even species-specific issues to whole-of-forest or ecosystem-scale analyses. Issues such as:

- Effectiveness of fuel management in mitigating wildfire impacts
- Smoke and fuel management
- Human health in relation to wildfire and controlled fire
- Carbon, nutrient and water dynamics in forests +/- fuel management
- Biodiversity and fuel management
- Community engagement in fuel management
- Cross-boundary/multi-stakeholder approaches in fuel management
- Governance of wildfire and fuels

Regional or global analyses are welcome, as are papers reporting technical breakthroughs in measurement or modelling or social science related to fuel management and wildfire. Papers that combine biological or physical sciences with social aspects of fuel management are very welcome.


Keywords: Fuel management, Wildfire, Fire suppression, Controlled fire, Fire recovery, Forest management, Forest fuel, Biodiversity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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