Journal article

Between a rock and a hard place: The burdens of uncontrolled fire for smallholders across the tropics

Rachel Carmenta, Federico Cammelli, Wolfram Dressler, Camila Verbicaro, Julie G Zaehringer

World Development | Elsevier BV | Published : 2021


Once fire-resistant rainforests are becoming fire prone. Uncontrolled fires reflect new ecologies of the Anthropocene, driven by interactions of multiple actors and sectors across scales. They threaten the ecological integrity of tropical forests, impact global climate regimes and importantly cause considerable social and economic burdens. Numerous smallholder farming communities throughout the forested tropics experience the immediate place-based damages of uncontrolled fires and increasingly flammable landscapes. However, these burdens remain largely ‘invisible’ as leading narratives concentrate on losses accrued at aggregate scales, including to climate and biodiversity. Rather, smallhold..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by NERC-ESRC

Awarded by Sem Flama Project - CNPq-Prevfogo-IBAMA

Awarded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Awarded by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Funding Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the smallholder farmers for their time, kindnesses and conversation in participating in the study. RC was funded by the Frank Jackson Foundation, NERC-ESRC grant ES/F012500/1 and Sem Flama Project funded by CNPq-Prevfogo-IBAMA (#441949/2018) and thanks Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA), Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservacao da Biodiversidade (ICMBio) and Federacao das Associacoes de Moradores e Comunidades do Assentamento Agroextrativistas da Gleba Lago Grande (FEAGLE) for supporting this research and authorising the study. FC would like to acknowledge Ednalva Silva do Rosario for invaluable field assistance and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences for funding the field campaign. J.G.Z. was funded by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme), which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), under Grant No. 400440 152167. Elements of this work were undertaken whilst J.G.Z. was a visiting scholar at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (May 2018-April 2019), supported through Scientific Exchange funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), under Grant No. IZSEZ0_180391.