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Lecture 5

FOR400Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Management System

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Ning Yan

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FOR400Y Response Paper 5: Fire Management
Lydia Wong
Broadly, all three articles investigate the roles of forest fire management, and its social,
economic, and ecological effects. Specifically, Albert-Green et al. (2013) explore the
patterns of change observed in the timing of fire seasons (i.e. when fires begin and end
in the season). The paper focuses on lightning-caused forest fires and uses a modeling-
based approach to investigate the changes in fire seasons. The paper also explores the
effects of these changes on management programs and costs. Acuna et al. (2010)
investigate the effects of timber harvest on the flammability of forests and propose that
management systems strive to adopt a more integrated approach between forest
management and fire management. Finally, Martell (2001) provides a general overview
of wildfire management and discuss its long-term social, economic, and ecological
The changes in the timing of fire seasons in Alberta and Ontario predicted by Albert-
Green et al. (2013) are likely to have important and broad consequences, socially,
economically, and ecologically. While their results do not directly examine the causes
for the observed shifts in fire season, Albert-Green et al. (2013) suggest that factors
such as climate, vegetation and regional weather may be significant. These predicted
changes can likely be directly linked to the Acuna et al. (2010) paper which showed that
timber harvest plays an important role in determining the behaviour of forest fires. In
synthesizing the results of both papers, evidently the characteristics of a fire (i.e. timing,
intensity, scale etc.) are heavily influenced by multiple factors, many of which may be
anthropogenically induced. Clearly, timber harvest has major implications on forest fire
behaviour because harvesting factors such as the placement of roads, harvest blocks,
the types of species harvested, and timing of harvest can all have important effects on
forest fires as discussed by Acuna et al. (2010). Moreover, although not explicitly
examined in Albert-Green et al. (2013), anthropogenic-induced climate change may be
a potential driver of the patterns observed in the timing of fire seasons. Importantly, this
means that while reduced landscape flammability due to harvesting can contribute to
increases in annual allowable cuts, the additive effects of changes in the timing of fire
season must also be considered. Whether harvesting techniques have been flexible to
these changes is unclear from these papers.
Both Albert-Green et al. (2013) and Acuna et al. (2010) focus mostly on the economic
and social factors implicated in their findings. For example Albert-Green et al. (2013)
emphasize the effects of changes in the timing of fire season on pre-suppression and
suppression expenditures and on management programs. However, it may also be both
interesting and critical to examine the long-term ecological effects of these changes.
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