Policy Scenarios for fire-adapted communities: Understanding stakeholder risk-perceptions, using Fuzzy Cognitive Maps

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Collaborative groups are most effective when the varied stakeholder groups within them understand the risks of wildfire and take proactive steps to manage these risks. Implementing policies for fire risk mitigation and adaptation, however, remains difficult because risks and policy alternatives are not understood or supported uniformly across diverse stakeholders. To facilitate greater understanding and collaboration across diverse groups, researchers developed a novel approach, based on Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCM), in which they systematically collected mental model representations from a range of stakeholders involved in wildfire management in the Ashland, Oregon area to better understand their diverse perceptions of wildfire events, wildfire impacts, and wildfire management and their willingness to support fire management policies.

There were important similarities across all groups’ mental models, most notably that 1) stakeholders are aware of the ecological importance of fire and 2) stakeholder groups acknowledge the importance of the public’s support and the need to better collaborate across the broader stakeholder community