The Land Tenure of Wildfire Risk Management Systems

Authors: Cody Evers*, , Alan Ager, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Max Nielsen-Pincus, Portland State University, Derric Jacobs, Portland State University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: social-ecological networks; wildfire risk; coupled human-ecological systems; forest ecology; urban planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Wilson A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Environmental problems that span social boundaries lead to a patchwork of overlapping interests held by multiple actors. Such situations are increasingly common within the wildland urban interface where larger and more complex wildfires give rise to new questions about who is responsible for managing the increased risk. Wildfire risk is concentrated in discrete geographic hotspots and many of these regions have already taken significant steps to adapt to wildfire. Still, there is only limited systematic knowledge about the wildfire management systems in these regions, how they are structured, and how they adapt to environmental change over time. In this presentation, we survey the composition, structure, and geography of the wildfire risk management system in one such hotspot located in the north-central part of Washington State using the lens of social-ecological networks. We identify five organizational types that make up the management system and use the location of past work projects to generate land tenure for different types of organizations. We find that organizational tenure is most diverse where development is found and it is only loosely connected with the magnitude of wildfire exposure. For many organizational types, land ownership was a relatively poor predictor of organizational presence and that many organizations reported work across land ownership boundaries. We further find that task specificity increases where organizational diversity is high, suggesting that organizations limit their scope of work when other organizations are present. Finally, we then look at collaboration patterns among actors working in areas of high organizational diversity.

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