FIRE OTHERWISE: The ethnobiology of burning for a changing world, edited by Cynthia Fowler and James Welch


Fowler Welch 2018 SALSAFire Otherwise: Ethnobiology of Burning for a Changing World

Edited by Cynthia T. Fowler and James R. Welch

University of Utah Press, 2018

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 approaches that embrace 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. The book includes chapters addressing fire use and management by Indigenous peoples in the Brazilian cerrado and Gran Sabana of Venezuela, quilombolas in the Jalapão region of Tocantins, and swidden farmers in Central Amazonia.