Abstract

The impacts of escalating wildfire in many regions — the lives and homes lost, the expense of suppression and the damage to ecosystem services — necessitate a more sustainable coexistence with wildfire. Climate change and continued development on fire-prone landscapes will only compound current problems. Emerging strategies for managing ecosystems and mitigating risks to human communities provide some hope, although greater recognition of their inherent variation and links is crucial. Without a more integrated framework, fire will never operate as a natural ecosystem process, and the impact on society will continue to grow. A more coordinated approach to risk management and land-use planning in these coupled systems is needed.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank V. Butsic, S. Cole Moritz, C. English and K. McLeod for comments on drafts of the manuscript, as well as P. Morgan for suggestions that greatly improved the final version. Some of this work was conducted while M.A.M. was a Center Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a Center funded by NSF (Grant #EF-0553768), the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the State of California.

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Author notes

    • Enric Batllori

    Present address: Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia & Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Pujada del Seminari, 28250 Solsona, Spain.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Division of Ecosystem Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • Max A. Moritz
    •  & Enric Batllori
  2. University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.

    • Ross A. Bradstock
  3. Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia.

    • A. Malcolm Gill
  4. RMIT University, 124 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia.

    • John Handmer
  5. US Forest Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington DC 20250-1111, USA.

    • Paul F. Hessburg
    •  & Sarah McCaffrey
  6. CSIRO, Clayton South, Victoria 3169, Australia.

    • Justin Leonard
  7. University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.

    • Dennis C. Odion
  8. University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder 80309-0450, Colorado, USA.

    • Tania Schoennagel
  9. Conservation Biology Institute, 136 SW Washington Avenue, Suite 202, Corvallis, Oregon 97333, USA.

    • Alexandra D. Syphard

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Correspondence to Max A. Moritz.

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