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Rachel Carmenta on Shifting Cultivation and Fire Policy

Fires in humid tropical forests are increasingly frequent due to severe dry seasons, forest degradation and agricultural expansion. The rising prevalence of fire throughout the Brazilian Amazon suggests that current management interventions are not sufficiently reducing fire threat. A range of fire focused policies at multiple spatial scales (international, national, state and regional) exist and are in place in Amazonia, largely centered on the actions of smallholders. Little information is available regarding the practices employed by smallholders in their swidden fields to reduce the risk of fire escape, or that documents the awareness smallholders have of the various policy prescriptions in place concerning fire management. A similar information deficit exists regarding smallholder perceptions of fire, fire management (at the local level) and fire policy. This paper presents ethnographic research, complimented by a review of policy measures, to address these shortfalls. The paper aims to provide an analysis of smallholder fire management practices, the logic of fire management decisions and the capacity restraints smallholders face in order to understand the nature of the policy-practice gap and provide recommendations for future policy interventions.This work is published in Human Ecology with co-authors from Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC): Shifting cultivation and fire policy: insights from the Brazilian Amazon. Carmenta, R., Vermeylen, S., Parry, L., Barlow, J. 2013. Human Ecology. 41, 4, p. 603-614.Moderator: Robert Nasi, Deputy Director General - Research, CIFOR.Speaker: Rachel Carmenta, Post Doctoral Fellow, CIFOR.Date: 19 August 2014 Location: CIFOR Headquarters, Bogor, Indonesia. For more information got to http://www.cifor.org

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