Wildfi res are increasingly impinging upon human populations because of anthropogenic changes to the global fi re cycle. Large investments are therefore required to prevent fi re from spreading into urban areas to protect human life and reduce property damage. However, prioritizing fuel management by identifying sites where the greatest number of people are affected by wildfi res is often a challenge for governments because of limited resources. Here, we show how to quantify management priorities and allocate interventions (i.e., fuel removals from forests) in interfaces between urban and wildland areas threatened by wildfi res. We developed a landscape-level management priority index which integrates social, economic, and ecological factors. We apply this method to southern Italy as a case example, where fi res have been increasing in both magnitude and frequency. Our results highlight the need to prioritize fuel removals in densely populated landscapes in terms of maximizing the number of people affected by wildfi re suppression per dollar spent on fuel removal. More broadly, we suggest that this approach could form the basis of wildfi re suppression in urban regions across the globe and can be applied easily towards allocating any type of management intervention in any ecosystem.

Quantifying management priorities in urban interfaces threatened by wildfires

LAFORTEZZA, RAFFAELE;Elia M.;SANESI, Giovanni;
2014

Abstract

Wildfi res are increasingly impinging upon human populations because of anthropogenic changes to the global fi re cycle. Large investments are therefore required to prevent fi re from spreading into urban areas to protect human life and reduce property damage. However, prioritizing fuel management by identifying sites where the greatest number of people are affected by wildfi res is often a challenge for governments because of limited resources. Here, we show how to quantify management priorities and allocate interventions (i.e., fuel removals from forests) in interfaces between urban and wildland areas threatened by wildfi res. We developed a landscape-level management priority index which integrates social, economic, and ecological factors. We apply this method to southern Italy as a case example, where fi res have been increasing in both magnitude and frequency. Our results highlight the need to prioritize fuel removals in densely populated landscapes in terms of maximizing the number of people affected by wildfi re suppression per dollar spent on fuel removal. More broadly, we suggest that this approach could form the basis of wildfi re suppression in urban regions across the globe and can be applied easily towards allocating any type of management intervention in any ecosystem.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/95137
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