Resolving future fire management conflicts using multicriteria decision making

Driscoll, Don A., Bode, Michael, Bradstock, Ross A., Keith, David A., Penman, Trent D. and Price, Owen F. 2016, Resolving future fire management conflicts using multicriteria decision making, Conservation biology, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 196-205, doi: 10.1111/cobi.12580.

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Title Resolving future fire management conflicts using multicriteria decision making
Author(s) Driscoll, Don A.ORCID iD for Driscoll, Don A.
Bode, Michael
Bradstock, Ross A.
Keith, David A.
Penman, Trent D.
Price, Owen F.
Journal name Conservation biology
Volume number 30
Issue number 1
Start page 196
End page 205
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-02
ISSN 1523-1739
Keyword(s) WUI
fuel reduction
interfaz tierra silvestre-urbana
prescribed burning
quema prescrita
reducción de combustible
structured decision making
toma estructurada de decisiones
wildland-urban interface
Summary Management strategies to reduce the risks to human life and property from wildfire commonly involve burning native vegetation. However, planned burning can conflict with other societal objectives such as human health and biodiversity conservation. These conflicts are likely to intensify as fire regimes change under future climates and as growing human populations encroach farther into fire-prone ecosystems. Decisions about managing fire risks are therefore complex and warrant more sophisticated approaches than are typically used. We applied a multicriteria decision making approach (MCDA) with the potential to improve fire management outcomes to the case of a highly populated, biodiverse, and flammable wildland-urban interface. We considered the effects of 22 planned burning options on 8 objectives: house protection, maximizing water quality, minimizing carbon emissions and impacts on human health, and minimizing declines of 5 distinct species types. The MCDA identified a small number of management options (burning forest adjacent to houses) that performed well for most objectives, but not for one species type (arboreal mammal) or for water quality. Although MCDA made the conflict between objectives explicit, resolution of the problem depended on the weighting assigned to each objective. Additive weighting of criteria traded off the arboreal mammal and water quality objectives for other objectives. Multiplicative weighting identified scenarios that avoided poor outcomes for any objective, which is important for avoiding potentially irreversible biodiversity losses. To distinguish reliably among management options, future work should focus on reducing uncertainty in outcomes across a range of objectives. Considering management actions that have more predictable outcomes than landscape fuel management will be important. We found that, where data were adequate, an MCDA can support decision making in the complex and often conflicted area of fire management.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/cobi.12580
Field of Research 050104 Landscape Ecology
050205 Environmental Management
05 Environmental Sciences
06 Biological Sciences
07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Wiley
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