Cathy is a postdoctoral research associate at Royal Holloway University of London, in the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment, and Society. Her research takes a political ecological approach to examine fire governance and changes in the use and knowledge of fire within rural livelihoods. She previously worked for a community-based fire management project in Belize.
Lessons learned from a century of fire suppression and management in the tropical savannas of Belize
This talk explores the last century of fire management of the coastal pine savanna in Belize. The coastal pine savanna in Belize has long been shaped by human fire use for hunting, agriculture, physical access, and enjoyment. Its flora is ecologically adapted to fire. Yet, for various reasons, fires have been cast as a problem by governmental and non-governmental organizations, since c. 1920. Initially, British colonial foresters deemed fires to be destructive to pine forestry. Later, some organizations began to see wildfires as a nature conservation, human security and/or climate risk. In response, these organizations designed different programs of fire suppression and management. In this talk I examine how these programs have differed, in their design, and in practice. The aims and methods of fire management have changed, but there has been some continuity in the way fire management has played out on the ground. There have been large gaps between plans/policies and fire management in practice. Little has changed: Belize’s diverse and growing rural population has continued to use fire, and the savannas burn, year upon year. Each program of fire management has been designed taking little account of local ecology and politics. Local conditions have, nevertheless, shaped fire management in practice. I argue that this is partly explained by the way in which fire management has often been designed, and funded, from abroad.
北京大学城市与环境学院教授，博士生导师。主要从事植被生态和景观生态学研究。兼任Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Forest Ecosystems, Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution，Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biology等期刊编委。2015年以来开始关注林火干扰与植被响应，对印度洋季风影响下的我国西南山地林火发生的时空格局、驱动机制、植被结构和组成的响应特征与适应策略进行了系统研究，相关成果在Agriculture and Forestry Meteorology, Ecology, Geophysical Research Letters，Remote Sensing, Science of the Total Environment等期刊发表。