Interdisciplinary Research on Ecosystem Services:
Fire and Climate Change in UK Moorlands and Heaths

Seminar Four

Economic impacts of wildfires, wildfire policy and the use of adaptive land management to reduce wildfire risk and impact

Peak District National Park, 13-14 May 2009

Convenor: Jonathan Walker

Heather management by cutting

Heather management by cutting.

In the final seminar of the series we looked at the economic impacts of wildfire, wildfire policy and adaptive land management to mitigate wildfire risk / impact.

Day One provided comprehensive information of the ‘costs’ of wildfires to policy makers that initiated discussion on the importance of wildfires and potential policy reforms to address wildfire risk reduction and fire-fighting policy and resourcing. The day started with a focus on the policy and practice of fighting moorland and heathland wildfires followed by a series of talks that provided an overview of the costs of wildfire suppression, their ‘costs’ on ecological services, local economies and costs to restore wildfire sites. The day culminated in a question and answer session to an invited policy panel, comprised of Jon Stewart (Natural England), Trevor Johnson, (Scottish Wildfire Forum), Malcolm Hay, (Heather Trust), Richard Campen, (Peak District National Park Authority) and Mark Jones (English Wildfire Forum).

The session was an excellent opportunity for researchers, fire-fighters and land managers to raise a series of questions of direct relevance to their interests that resulted in an incredibly insightful and interesting session.

Day Two focused on Adaptive Land Management (ALM) to reduce wildfire risk and impact. ALM is essentially ‘learning by doing’ but with a strong, built-in monitoring, evaluation and learning system. Within an ALM system, the impacts of changes in practice and policy are able to be assessed. After an introduction to this concept and its relevance to wildfire mitigation, there was a workshop session in which provided an  cross sector exercise to assess the perceived‘ impact and knowledge of wildfire on ecosystem services followed by development the necessary systems to test several land and fire management reforms on a ‘real life’ scenario.

Take home message:
Economic evidence of the impact of wildfire was strongly identified as a key driver of future wildfire policy reforms. Robust and reliable evidence on the full economic impacts is therefore a priority, both to further develop best practice in wildfire mitigation (land management, improving preparedness) and suppression (fire-fighting), and inform and drive future policy reforms.

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Pre-circulated papers
   Day One
   Day Two
Reports of discussions
   Day One
   Day Two

Abstracts are available in the seminar booklet. Presenters wishing to make their poster available to download, should email the file to