PAO: Policy Activities » Briefing (July 07, 2008)

ESA Co-sponsors Congressional Briefing:
After the Fire: Approaches to Revitalizing Ecosystem Resources

Combined, the two briefings drew an audience of over 115 congressional staff, including staffers from both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

Christensen noted that human activities have changed key factors that influence fire behavior but also pointed out that most fires do not necessitate post-fire interventions, which can be counter-productive to forest management. 

Neary addressed the vital role of soil in forest ecosystems, describing it as the ‘skin’ of the Earth, and discussed how fire affects soil and water quality. 

Swallow addressed the economics of wildfires, including impacts on tourism, water, wildlife, and other resources important to people.


A main message of the jointly sponsored briefing was that integrated research that combines the biological, physical, and social sciences can help address how to manage the nation’s ecosystem resources.

In meetings with their Congressional representatives, the three scientific experts also highlighted the need for continued funding of critical multi-disciplinary research supported by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Agriculture.

Click the links below to view the full presentations from the three speakers:

Revitalizing Ecosystem Processes and Services Following Fire
Norman Christensen Jr., Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment

Post-Wildfire Management of Soil
Dan Neary, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Economics of Fire Science
Stephen Swallow, University of Rhode Island, Dept. of Environmental & Natural Resource Economics

Click here to view the summary handout from the briefing