About this course
This course submerges students from different disciplines in the field of Pyrogreography. Recent years were only a glimpse of what to expect in the future: deadly mega-fires in Mediterranean regions, high fire activity in temperate and boreal areas outside typical fire seasons and regions, politicized deforestation fires in the Amazon, and fires in Australia that have never been seen before. Fire is a highly complex and wicked problem that integrates across the environmental and social sciences, across geographies and climate zones and academia and practice. This course deals with the complex nature of landscape fires and fire management from different disciplinary perspectives including geography, fire science, governance and communication.
Pyrogeography is structured around lectures, tutorials, fieldtrips and an integrating creative project. The course content focuses on three main modules: 1) fire drivers and effects, 2) fire regimes, and 3) integrated fire management. Pyrogeography acknowledges that fire is a natural process that is inherently spatial, and hence needs to be addressed from an integrated fire management perspective. The course is taught by a team of interdisciplinary lecturers together with a set of guest speakers from both academia and practice (fire services, land managers, operational decision makers, etc).
This four-week course has two distinct components. We start by discussing the need for integrated fire management, what it is, and how inter- and transdisciplinary science forms an essential basis. We then cover the environmental and social aspects of fire and its drivers and impacts. This knowledge is applied in lectures, discussions and invited talks as well as during field trips and a serious game. Finally, you integrate and apply this knowledge during a group project in a creative assignment supporting integrative fire management. The course is concluded with a summary and evaluation, and an individual exam.
Throughout the course, students work with the wealth of online open data that exists related to fires, learning the tools in week 1 and applying these tools and data in their own project. Another recurring aspect in this course is the strong link between science and practice: students learn from and work with a large variety of stakeholders from the international fire community, including in their final project. As such, this course introduces students to the diversity of jobs that can be done in fire. We encourage students to make connections with their individual expertise, to jointly build upon all knowledge and skills present in the group, and learn from eachother. While fire forms the core of this course, lessons learned extend beyond fire to a range of wicked societal challenges that can only be solved in an inter- and transdisciplinary way.
After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the basic principles of fire with its environmental and social drivers and impacts;
- apply this knowledge to assess implications for the integrated management of fire in an international context, linking science and practice;
- integrate the disciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge gained to make creative information material tailored to a specific case and context
An open mind and the willingness to (rapidly) learn from other disciplines.
Because this is such an interdisciplinary course aimed at students from such varied study programs, there is no prerequisite knowledge or courses. Knowledge of SDC35306 Natural Hazards and Disasters is welcome though not required - the basics of disaster science will be covered for students who have not followed this course.