During the last twenty years, the Joint Fires Science Program (JFSP) has played a critical role in the development and implementation of wildland fire research. JFSP research supports collaborative efforts between federal, university and state managers. These efforts include funding science studies that are timely and relevant to addressing important management questions. JFSP science is reviewed by independent peer review panels, which assess the scientific merit of submitted proposals. The peer-reviewed process helps ensure the quality and credibility of science. JFSP has a strong commitment to science exchange, which is central to its mission. JFSP research directly translates into research accomplishments.
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During the last four program reviews, JFSP has exhibited an outstanding record of science delivery and management accountability. It has helped catalyze collaborative efforts among federal, university and state managers, including the development of the JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network (FSEN). During the last five years, more than 1,000 students have been directly involved in JFSP research. This includes state scientists, university students, and private scientists. The JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network includes fifteen exchanges spanning the entire US. The FSEN is viewed as a model for innovative science exchange.
A significant reduction in funding for JFSP would erode the USFS’ research capacity, and would significantly decrease the research that is conducted to address agency management needs. Without JFSP, agencies would be left without a reliable source of funding for wildland fire research. There is no substitute for JFSP. In addition, JFSP research represents a significant portion of the published wildland fire research in the US. JFSP research appears in a number of publications, including the JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network Newsletter.
During the second program review, the Governing Board determined that JFSP needed a major overhaul in scope. The board’s decision to reduce the scope of JFSP was based in part on planned science delivery. The resulting funding decisions were based on the projected science delivery, but also on a technology transfer criterion. The technology transfer criterion is based on the need to transfer science to managers, which is an essential component of the JFSP science exchange.
JFSP research has contributed to the development of key wildland fire science journals. It has funded studies on topics such as wildfire dynamics, fire ecology, wildfire prevention, fire-adapted vegetation, forest health and vegetation management. Most studies involve federal and university managers and scientists, but also include private scientists. This is a unique feature of the program and is one of its main contributions to wildland fire science. JFSP research has appeared in two key journals and has been published in a significant percentage of the wildland fire research papers in the US.