RGS Conference Session: ‘Governing fire across spatial boundaries’ (1 Sept 2023)

RGS Conference Session: ‘Governing fire across spatial boundaries’ (1 Sept 2023)

Royal Geographical Society conference session: ‘Governing fire across spatial boundaries’

Organised by the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society (Fire Governance Working Group)

In person session (London) followed by hybrid session, 1st September 2023, 14:10-15:50 and 16:20 – 18:00 BST

In the context of climate change, landscape fires are increasingly visible in the media and of research interest. A burgeoning literature explores social dimensions of fire, including the impacts and mitigation of wildfire, and the role of controlled fire use within rural livelihoods and land management.

State and non-state organisations are increasingly concerned with fire’s governance. For example, in recent years fire has been implicated within greenhouse gas abatement schemes, with payments to smallholders and Indigenous communities either to exclude fire from their lands, or for controlled burning to mitigate emissions from wildfires. Fire governance by state and non-state agencies often overlooks existing social norms and rules that govern fire locally. In many parts of the world, there are thus multiple, interacting, forms of fire governance, related to overlapping jurisdictional boundaries and different forms of land tenure, including customary land tenure, private and state land. In these two sessions we consider the ways in which fire’s governance is shaped by spatial boundaries at multiple scales.

Session chairs: Cathy Smith, Jay Mistry & Kayla De Freitas (Royal Holloway, University of London), Kapil Yadav (King’s College London)


  • Francisco Seijo (IE School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs, Madrid, Spain): Role of Indigenous and local knowledge in forest conservation: The case of relict Mediterranean fir forests in Spain and Morocco
  • Henry Thompson (King’s College London): Effects of large-scale land acquisitions on traditional pastoral fire use in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia
  • Rahinatu Sidiki Alare (King’s College London): The role of land tenure in shaping fire governance and conflicts in Northern Ghana’s Savannah
  • Sophie de Pauw (University of Reading): Fines, Fences and Fires: Case study of Gile National Park, Mozambique
  • Danny Marks (Dublin City University) & Michelle Ann Miller (National University of Singapore): An Embodied Political Ecology of Agricultural Burning in Thailand
  • Abigail Croker (Imperial College London): Community-Based Fire Management in East and Southern African Savanna-Protected Areas: Myth or Reality?
  • Christoph Neger (Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM)) & Laura Patricia Ponce Calderón (The College of the Southern Frontier (ECOSUR), Mexico): Cultural fire management outside and within a protected area in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Kayla De Freitas (Royal Holloway University of London): Fire governance systems in South Rupununi, Guyana: local responses to changing land use and tenure in an unpredictable climate
  • Fernando Javier Pulido Díaz (University of Extremadura, Spain): MOSAICO: a long-term project for megafire prevention through participatory agrosilvopastoralism in Extremadura, Spain
  • Nina Fontana (University of California, Davis): Firefighting to firelighting: Cultural burning in California and the Future of Collaborative Restoration

Conference Registration Here

Early Bird deadline 16th June. One-day registration option available.