Deliberation for wildfire risk management: Addressing conflicting views in the Chiquitania, Bolivia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Wildfires are increasingly affecting forest landscapes around the world. In the Bolivian Chiquitania, southern Amazonia, large wildfires during recent droughts have intensified public debate around more systemic solutions to address the possible root causes. While the integration of different forms of fire knowledge is gaining acceptance as an approach to dealing with increasing wildfire risk, little attention has been given to this integration in the Amazonia. In fact, mismatches between policy, science and local realities have curtailed the success of fire risk strategies in the region. To address this challenge, we conducted interviews and focus group discussions with a wide range of actors in the Chiquitania to examine different forms of knowledge and views of fire, and the extent to which these were integrated in prevalent wildfire risk strategies. We found that the risk strategies were in tension between two conflicting understandings of fire. A conceptual framework was developed to capture the configuration of knowledge underpinning this tension. Adopting a more integrated and inclusive approach to manage wildfire risk will require overcoming first this tension through a more open deliberation process within a reflexive governance framework. We proposed three “deliberation arenas” to facilitate this process, which could ultimately support more systemic, inter-cultural fire management in the Chiquitania and other landscapes with conflicting views in the Amazonia.


External organisations
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Oxford
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


  • Amazonia, climate change, conflict transformation, reflexive governance, traditional fire knowledge, wildfire risk management
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-54
JournalGeographical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date2018 Sep 2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch