Skip to main content

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Increasing wildfire risk associated with climate change is creating strong pressures on northern communities to manage fuels to protect people, infrastructure, and critical wildlife habitat or protected areas. Strategies to resist damage from wildfires in the boreal forest are considerably enhanced by adaptation efforts to reduce fuel loads in fuel breaks, often constructed through forest harvest or thinning on natural lands around communities. However, maintaining effective fuel breaks requires ongoing treatment and often creates features that compromise the ecosystem services the forest provides to local communities. As an alternative, directing forest succession following fuel treatments can convert forest stands to vegetation structures that simultaneously reduce wildfire risk while supporting multiple community benefits. This win:win situation is ecologically and socially plausible but requires investment in knowledge sharing to support local capacity and innovation. This synthesis project brings together northern experts from diverse knowledge systems to envision and assess opportunities to develop fuel reduction treatments that direct ecological outcomes towards sustainable social-ecological benefits in boreal forests. Through knowledge sharing and assessment of alternative management strategies, this cross-sectoral project will support increased engagement with innovative approaches to fuel management that sustain community resilience to wildfire in the changing climate of the North.

Johnstone photo

Principal Investigator(s)

Jill Johnstone, Michelle C. Mack

Project Dates

Start: August 1, 2023

End: May 30, 2025



Felecia Amundsen
Northern Arizona University
Hazel K Berrios
Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District
Luc Bibeau
Yukon Government
Dorothy Cooley
Teslin Tlingit Council
Ann Erickson
Bureau of Land Management
Carla Johnston
Wilfrid Laurier University
Jill Johnstone
University of Saskatchewan
Nicholas Link
Northern Arizona University
Joseph Little
Northern Arizona University
Nathan Lojewski
Michelle C. Mack
Northern Arizona University
Carly Phillips
Union of Concerned Scientists
Daniel Rees
Lisa Saperstein
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska
Katie Spellman
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Andrew Spring
Wilfrid Laurier University