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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

Social Science Research for Fuels Management


The Northern Research Station has realigned our staff from 37 Research Work Units and Programs into 14 new Research Work Units.

RWU-4804 is now part of NRS-9, People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy.

[Photo:] Trailside sign saying Please clear around homesWhat we looked at: As part of a national effort, we reviewed the social science literature pertaining, and applicable, to wildland fire and managing vegetation that fuels wildland fire. Our goal was to synthesize the findings to guide future research.

Why: Social concerns about wildland fire and fuels management are drawing increased attention as wildland fires and fuels management efforts reach people’s back yards. This and implementation of the National Fire Plan have spurred a surge of social science research into wildland fire and fuels management.

What we found: Part of our study sought to answer five key questions, involving collaboration in fuels treatment, communicating risks, evaluating the social acceptability of fuels treatment, the role of private landowners, and evaluating the social impacts of wildfire. Although wildfire research related to these questions is extremely limited, there is general social science data that answers each one. For the second part of our study, looking at community preparedness for wildfire, we found that a remarkably growing body of research into actions by individual communities is contributing to theories explaining community preparedness.

Learn more about this research. (pdf)

Research Team

Project Lead: Pamela J. Jakes, USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, St. Paul, MN

Susan Barro, USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, St. Paul, MN

Sarah McCaffrey, USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, Evanston, IL

Martha Monroe, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gaineseville, FL

Victoria Sturtevant, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Southern Oregon University, Ashville, OR

Daniel Williams, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ft. Collins, CO

Terry Daniel, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Last Modified: 12/21/2007