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2019-2020 Webinar Series


Lake States Fire Science Webinar November 2019

Complex System Dysfunction:

Planning for Oak, but not Burning for Oak


YouTube Recording

MP4 video Recording

PDF of Presentation




Thursday November 21, 2019

2 PM Eastern/ 1 PM Central


Chris Hoving

Adaptation Specialist, Michigan DNR

Boone and Crockett Fellow, Michigan State University



On state game areas in Michigan, oak forests and savanna are highly valued by managers and hunters alike. Managers are aware of the problem and aware that more prescribed fire is key to long-term sustainability of this valued resource. So why are managers not burning at a scale to match the threat? Oak is fading from the landscape. The ecological process has been well documented, but the social processes that result in more or less use of prescribed fire within land management organization is less well known. What social forces result in under-disturbed oak forests, and what interventions in the social system might cause a change? We interviewed managers about their perceptions of the land management system in southern Michigan, and then built an agent-based model to simulate different interventions. This was done in the context of complex adaptive social-ecological systems with a focus on maintaining oak resources and overall biodiversity on state game areas.