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Social and historical dimensions of wildfire research and the consideration given to practical knowledge: a systematic review

Sousa, Joana and Çinar, Can and Carmo, Miguel and Malagoli, Marco A. S. (2022) 'Social and historical dimensions of wildfire research and the consideration given to practical knowledge: a systematic review.', Natural Hazards .


Existing knowledge about fires has been challenged by changes in forests and wildfire regimes. We carried out a systematic literature review involving both a global and a case study approach (Portugal) to investigate the configuration of the social dimensions of wildfires in academic literature. We advance two interlocking claims: (i) human dimensions of wildfires are often simplified into shallow indicators of anthropogenic activities lacking social and historical grounding, and (ii) fire knowledge of Indigenous peoples and/or other forest and fire users and professionals remains overlooked. These arguments were manifest from the global-scale review and were confirmed by the case study of Portugal. The individual perceptions, memories and cultural practices of forest and fire users and professionals and the historical co-developments of fires, people and forests have been missing from wildfire research. Including and highlighting those perspectives will both add to existing knowledge and inform policies related to fire management by making them socially meaningful.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 11 July 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:
Date accepted:20 June 2022
Date deposited:08 August 2022
Date of first online publication:11 July 2022
Date first made open access:11 July 2023

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