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Wildland Fire: The National Cohesive Strategy

Wildland fire can profoundly influence ecosystems services such as water and air quality, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, forest products, and forest carbon storage. Wildland fire poses management challenges related to the cost and social perceptions of management activities such as fuel treatments, and trade-offs may be necessary to maintain a variety of compatible ecosystem services in fire-prone landscapes. The impacts of fire also interact with other drivers of landscape change; in particular, climate change will continue to influence the frequency, size, and severity of wildland fires throughout the United States.

The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy—initiated in 2009 and finalized in 2014—provides a national vision for wildland fire management. This highly collaborative effort establishes three overarching goals, and describes stakeholder-driven processes for achieving them: (1) resilient landscapes; (2) fire-adapted communities; and (3) safe and effective wildfire response. The scientific rigor of this program was ensured with the establishment of the National Science and Analysis Team (NSAT).

The main tasks of NSAT were to compile credible scientific information, data, and models to help explore national challenges and opportunities, identify a range of management options, and help set national priorities for addressing key issues. The scientific products generated by the Cohesive Strategy and the NSAT can be used to understand factors contributing to wildland fire and potential effects on ecosystem services, among other applications. Example national-level data illustrated here include the maximum area burned in a single year (2002–2011) and the area available for prescribed fire in forested landscapes.

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Last modified: 
10/06/2015 - 21:12