Fire Otherwise

Ethnobiology of Burning for a Changing World

Fire is a daunting human ecological challenge and a major subject in science and policy debates about global trends in land conversion, climate change, and human health. Persistent environmental orthodoxies reduce complex burning traditions to overly simplistic representations of environmental destruction, degradation, and loss while reinforcing existing social inequities involving smallholders. Fire Otherwise: Ethnobiology of Burning for a Changing World advocates for a more inclusive and pluralistic fire ecology, a shift from the paradigmatic globalized version of fire science and management towards research and management that embraces anthropogenic fire regimes and broader understandings of the ways humans interact with fire. The authors present new evaluations of human interactions with fires in contexts of changing environmental conditions. Through deep description and analysis of knowledge and practices enacted by local communities who ignite, manage, and extinguish fires, this collection of case studies supports proactive local and regional efforts to adapt amidst continually changing social and ecological circumstances.

Cynthia T. Fowler is an anthropologist, ethnobiologist, and fire ecologist who teaches at Wofford College in South Carolina. She currently serves as president of the Society of Ethnobiology.
James R. Welch is an anthropologist and researcher at the National School of Public Health in Rio de Janeiro and a research fellow with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development in Brazil. 

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Lifeways Enhancing Fire Ecology: An Introduction
Cynthia T. Fowler and James R. Welch
2. Anthropogenic Fire History, Ecology, and Management in Fire-Prone Landscapes: An Intercontinental Review
James R. Welch, Joyce K. LeCompte, Ramona J. Butz, Angela May Steward, and Jeremy Russell-Smith
3. Fire in the African Savanna: Identifying Challenges to Traditional Burning Practices in Tanzania and Malawi
Ramona J. Butz
4. Fire Management in Brazilian Savanna Wetlands: New Insights from Traditional Swidden Cultivation Systems in the Jalapão Region (Tocantins)
Ludivine Eloy, Silvia Laine Borges, Isabel B. Schmidt, and Ana Carolina Sena Barradas
5. Fire Use among Swidden Farmers in Central Amazonia: Reflections on Practice and Conservation Policies
Angela May Steward
6. Restoration, Risk, and the (Non)Reintroduction of Coast Salish Fire Ecologies in Washington State
Joyce K. LeCompte
7. The Critical Role of Firefighters’ Place-Based Environmental Knowledge in Responding to Novel Fire Regimes in Hawai‘i
Lisa Gollin and Clay Trauernicht
8. Burning Lands: Fire and Livelihoods in the Navosa Hill Region, Fiji Islands
Trevor King
9. Assessing Causes and Effects of Survival Emissions from Global to Local Scales: Agropastoral Communities in the North Kodi Subdistrict of Sumba Island, Indonesia
Cynthia T. Fowler

Praise and Reviews:
“This book is very important. It’s the first edited volume on fire ethnography and it is a good balance of thorough overview and specific in-depth studies. There is very little out there that is comparable.”
—Eugene N. Anderson, professor emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside

“Provides work previously unavailable on a timely subject in an interesting manner. The book will be of interest to those specializing in fire management, people interested in how various groups manage fire, climate-change specialists, and readers with geographical/enthnographical interests.”
—Carol J. Pierce Colfer, senior associate at the Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia, and visiting scholar with Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program