Re-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance

TitleRe-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsAbrams, JB
Secondary AuthorsKnapp, M
Tertiary AuthorsPaveglio, TB
Subsidiary AuthorsEllison, A, Moseley, C, Nielsen-Pincus, M, Carroll, MS
JournalEcology and Society
Start Page34
Keywordsdisaster resilience, institutions, learning, scale-matching, technical reports and journal articles, wildfire, wildland-urban interface

Prompted by a series of increasingly destructive, expensive, and highly visible wildfire crises in human communities across the globe, a robust body of scholarship has emerged to theorize, conceptualize, and measure community-level resilience to wildfires. To date, however, insufficient consideration has been given to wildfire resilience as a process of adaptive governance mediated by institutions at multiple scales. Here we explore the possibilities for addressing this gap through an analysis of wildfire resilience among wildland-urban interface communities in the western region of the United States. We re-engage important but overlooked components of social-ecological system resilience by situating rural communities within their state- to national-level institutional contexts; we then analyze two communities in Nevada and New Mexico in terms of their institutional settings and responses to recent wildfire events. We frame our analysis around the concepts of scale matching, linking within and across scales, and institutional flexibility.