Assessing Landscape Vulnerability to Wildfire in the USA

TitleAssessing Landscape Vulnerability to Wildfire in the USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsVaillant, NM
Secondary AuthorsKolden, CA
Tertiary AuthorsSmith, AMS
JournalCurrent Forestry Reports
Start Page201
Keywordsfire effects and fire ecology, risk assessment and analysis, technical reports and journal articles

Wildfire is an ever present, natural process shaping landscapes. Having the ability to accurately measure and predict wildfire occurrence and impacts to ecosystem goods and services, both retrospectively and prospectively, is critical for adaptive management of landscapes. Landscape vulnerability is a concept widely utilized in the ecosystem management literature that has not been explicitly defined, particularly with regard to wildfire. Vulnerability more broadly is defined by three primary components: exposure to the stressor, sensitivity to a range of stressor variability, and resilience following exposure. In this synthesis, we define vulnerability in the context of wildfire. We first identify the components of a guiding framework for a vulnerability assessment with respect to wildfire. We then address retrospective assessments of wildfire vulnerability and the data that have been developed and utilized to complete these assessments. Finally, we review the modeling efforts that allow for predictive and probabilistic assessment of future vulnerability. Throughout the synthesis, we highlight gaps in the research, data availability, and models used to complete vulnerability