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Experts’ multiple criteria evaluations of fuel management options to reduce wildfire susceptibility

Author(s): Ana Martins, Ana Novais, José L. Santos, Maria João Canadas
Year Published: 2021

Expert opinion can be a valuable tool for informed decision making. Concerning wildfire susceptibility reduction at the landscape scale, forest ecosystem experts play a key role in offering advice about appropriate fuel management practices to be applied by forest owners or their organizations, and in shaping public policies. A literature review aimed at identifying fuel management interventions and techniques found multiple and even opposing strategies. Recognizing the interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional nature of fuel management, we go beyond existing studies on forest experts’ opinions by comparing evaluations across forest experts with diverse training and experience, and by considering different evaluation criteria such as technical effectiveness, impact on soil or biodiversity, socioeconomic impact, and preference. Following an online survey to a sample of Portuguese experts, distinct socio-professional clusters were established and experts’ evaluations associated with their views on fire, forests, owners’ coordination, and rural development. Results show that experts rank their preferences by weighing effectiveness and impacts in different ways. Closer knowledge of the local context distinguishes expert preference, favouring more active fuels reduction strategies. Since experts with a closer knowledge of socioeconomic context tend to be further from policy-making processes, we urge their more balanced participation in those processes.

Citation: Martins, Ana; Novais, Ana; Santos, José L.; Canadas, Maria J. 2021. Experts’ multiple criteria evaluations of fuel management options to reduce wildfire susceptibility. The role of closer knowledge of the local socioeconomic context. Land Use Policy 108:105580. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105580
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Fire Effects, Fire Policy & Law, Fuels, Risk
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 23723
FRAMES RCS number: 63774
Record updated: Oct 20, 2021