In southern California shrublands, vegetation or “fuel” treatments for fire risk reduction are almost always a resource sacrifice. This means that fuel treatment strategies essentially put fire risk reduction and biodiversity conservation goals at odds with each other. In response to this conflict, two of our briefs (Syphard et al. 2016; Butsic et al. 2016) explore a novel new approach. Through strategic land acquisition, high fire risk lands and highly biodiverse lands are targeted for purchase instead of treatment. Models of this newly conceptualized strategy demonstrate that it is possible for the two important goals to complement each other rather than conflict.
How to Reduce Fire Risk and Promote Conservation
Novel modeling methods that combine fire risk assessment, conservation, and land use planning can be used as a framework for a collaborative approach to achieve shared goals, reduce conflict and improve economic efficiencies for conservation and fire management activities.
Syphard, A. D., V. Butsic, A. Bar-Massada, J. E. Keeley, J. A. Tracey, and R. N. Fisher. 2016. Setting priorities for private land conservation in fire-prone landscapes: Are fire risk reduction and biodiversity conservation competing or compatible objectives? Ecology and Society 21(3):2. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08410-210302.
Strategic Land Purchases Lower San Diego Fire Risk
Conservation purchases focused on lands with high fire hazard, low costs, and high probabilities of subdivision, can reduce fire risk at the county scale.
Butsic, V., A.D. Syphard, A. Bar-Massada, J. E. Keeley. 2016. Can private land conservation reduce wildfire risk to homes? A case study in San Diego County, California, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 157:161-169. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.05.002.