SNAPP TEAM:Fire Research Consensus
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Where can scientific consensus support actions now to increase ecosystem resilience in fire-prone landscapes under the uncertainties of climate change?

We need to better manage fire-prone landscapes in the face of an uncertain future climate. Across the western US, a broad range of research perspectives make development of science-based fire management plans challenging, from national to state forest policy to managing private lands.


OUR APPROACH: Convening practitioners and scientists from diverse geographic and scientific backgrounds, this group will highlight where consensus exists and more effective policy can be focused.

Team Status: COMPLETED
Team Critical Challenge: Natural Climate Solutions

There is much common ground among fire researchers that can be useful to policy and management. High-level alignments include the following:

  • Fire is one of the most essential influences on western forests and most landscapes need more fire.
  • Fires can produce more positive benefits and fewer negative impacts when they burn with an ecologically appropriate mix and pattern of low, moderate, and high severity.
  • Managers will need assistance and funding to create landscape conditions that favor more desirable fire behavior at broad spatial scales.
  • There is no single, silver bullet solution to managing wildfire effectively, yet trust and science are necessary.

In addition, the below report highlights core research questions and datasets that are needed to make progress on the debates. It also focuses on policy and management decisions that do not hinge on resolving specific aspects of debate and provides recommendations for how to proceed on issues that do.


“We identified common ground about protecting human assets from wildfires, and about the positive role that wildfire can play in supporting biodiversity – and that these are not mutually exclusive.”

–Dennis Odion, Team Member

Key Products
Project Charter

This project aims to reach agreement among key constituencies regarding current and future planning and management for the role of high-severity fire in western coniferous forests, fire regimes, and fuel treatments.

Statement of Common Ground Regarding the Role of Wildfire in Forests of the Western US

This report explains areas of common ground and divergence among fire researchers about dry conifer forests. The work is meant to inform high quality public discourse, policy, and management.

Research Brief: the Role of Wildfire in Forested Landscapes of the Western US

This research brief summarizes major points of common ground and divergence among fire researchers, with a focus on conifer forests.

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Max Moritz
University of California, Berkeley
Chris Topik
The Nature Conservancy
Craig Allen
US Geological Survey (USGS)
Paul Hessburg
US Forest Service
Ian M. McCullough
NCEAS and Michigan State University
Penny Morgan
University of Idaho
Dennis Odion
University of California, Santa Barbara
Tom Veblen
University of Colorado
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