Human Ecology

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 773–785 | Cite as

Rangeland Fire Protection Associations in Great Basin Rangelands: A Model for Adaptive Community Relationships with Wildfire?

  • Jesse AbramsEmail author
  • Emily Jane Davis
  • Katherine Wollstein


Widespread concern with the negative impacts of wildfire on human communities has spurred calls to foster more resilient and adaptable forms of community coexistence with fire. However, numerous institutional barriers work to perpetuate maladaptive individual and collective behaviors in many communities. Here we examine a unique institutional model in the remote U.S. West in which rural community members play active roles in responding to wildland fire under state-sanctioned Rangeland Fire Protection Associations. Our findings drawn from case studies of four associations in Idaho and Oregon suggest that the Rangeland Fire Protection Association model presents opportunities to leverage the motivations, skills, and knowledge of ranchers to inform effective fire response and create opportunities for learning and adaptation. At the same time, this model of coproduction presents challenges to the integration of formal and informal institutions.


Wildfire Wildland-urban interface Ranching Polycentric governance Institutions Resilience Western United States Idaho Oregon 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All human subjects research was conducted with the informed consent of those involved. Research was authorized and overseen by the University of Oregon Institutional Review Board, protocol #06062014.010.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017
corrected publication November/2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for a Sustainable EnvironmentUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest Ecosystems and SocietyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resources and SocietyUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA

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