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Project ID: 10-3-01-25

Year: 2010

Date Started: 10/01/2010

Ending Date:  08/30/2014

Title: Advancing Knowledge About Citizen-Agency Trust in Wildland Fire Management: A Collaborative Assessment Framework for the U.S., Australia, and Canada

Project Proposal Abstract: Wildland fire management is a primary challenge for land management agencies and fire-prone communities in the United States and Australia. With the frequency and intensity of fires in both countries increasing, pre-fire programs for fuels reduction and post-fire planning for restoration of landscapes are essential activities. They also test the ability of fire managers and citizens to reach agreement on effective strategies. Research teams in both countries have been studying the dynamics of citizen-agency relationships during these critical periodswhen cooperative action is required for building fire-safe communities and when making sound decisions for the recovery of burned over landscapes is a timely necessity. By their very nature, the management context of these similar problems may require different organizational approaches to planning. However, in each case, trust among management agencies and communities is the critical variable to success. Our combined research team of U.S. and Australian scientists proposes to utilize our collective body of research to determine the most important factors that influence citizen trust of fire management agencies in decision-making processes. This project takes a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to examine citizen-agency interactions. We will jointly compare and evaluate data recently collected from study communities during the fuels reduction planning and implementation stage and also during the post-fire planning phase. From these comparisons we will construct an explanatory framework of trust for each experience. A particularly innovative aspect of this study is an assessment model that incorporates researchers, managers, and community members at each site in an evaluation process to ground-truth the key components of this work. Researchers from both countries will participate in all community assessments to help us learn from one another through these interactive experiences. This verification process also will allow for adjustments to strengthen the predictive capabilities of the framework. This study will further our understanding of both pre- and post-fire settings by utilizing existing primary data from two countries experiencing similar problems. While this form of collaborative research is rare, our ability to also incorporate the experience of managers, organized groups, and property owners in an assessment tool is unique. Development of an explanatory trust framework will be useful across research settings in that it will provide measures for predicting influences on decision-making strategies and help expose important contextual differences that management agencies must account for. Deconstructing the trust model has been a discussion point of social scientists in recent years, particularly as it applies to different management situations such as those examined here. Trust is important, but its most meaningful attributes may not be the same for all settings. This project will allow us to make significant progress in this important research. Objectives include: 1) compare the socio-political context of research sites in Oregon and Victoria, 2) analyze and synthesize qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (survey) data collected at study sites in both countries, 3) develop an explanatory framework, prioritizing factors that influence citizen-agency relations and public trust in management programs, with a focus on both pre-fire and post-fire actions, and 4) utilize a collaborative assessment model to ground-truth preliminary findings with diverse stakeholder groups.

Principal Investigator: Bruce A. Shindler

Agency/Organization: Oregon State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Christine S. Olsen

Oregon State University

Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society


Allan L. Curtis

Charles Sturt University

Institute for Land, Water and Society

Federal Cooperator

Sarah M. McCaffrey

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Federal Fiscal Representative

Terry R. Gross

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Project Locations









Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
  ID Type Title
    93 Ph.D. Dissertation A longitudinal study of residents in the Great Basin
view or print go to website 1802 Government Publication Trust: A Planning Guide for Wildfire Agencies and Practitioners
view or print   3277 Journal Article International Journal of Wildland Fire
view or print   312 MS Thesis Building social capital through community-agency collaboration
    7301 Conference/Symposia/Workshop How understanding public attitudes can help us build and maintain trust
    7302 Conference/Symposia/Workshop A discussion of trust among fire-affected communities
    7303 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Lessons learned in community acceptance of fire hazard reduction.
view or print   5271 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Influences on Community-Agency Trust-Building After Large Fires: Lessons Learned in the United States and Australia
view or print   4106 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Building a Trust Framework for Communities at Risk of Wildfire
    5942 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Agency-Stakeholder Trust in Communities at Risk of Wildfire in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
    6969 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Agency-Stakeholder Trust in Communities at Risk of Wildfire in Canada, Australia, and the United States
    6970 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Agency-Stakeholder Trust in Communities at Risk of Wildfire in Australia, Canada, and the United States
    7048 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Agency-Stakeholder Trust in Communities at Risk of Wildfire in the U.S., Canada, and Australia

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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