Research papers

Explore inhabitants’ perceptions of wildfire and mitigation behaviours in the Cerrado biome, a fire-prone area of Brazil


Fire represents an important natural feature of Brazilian landscape, especially in the Cerrado biome. The Cerrado is the economic livelihood of thousands of people from rural areas in Brazil. It is one of the most important hotspot of biodiversity in the world but also it is a fire-prone area thanks to the high flammability index of the vegetation. Residents and native people of this environment use fire very frequently. The majority of wildfires are caused by humans, though there are some aggravating natural factors affecting the risk, intensity and severity of wildfires. Since residents are continuously involved in fire suppression activities, understanding their perceptions is important for the decision makers who must assess the local capacity to preserve natural resources. This study explores perceptions about wildfire risk and fire mitigation behaviors within three municipalities of the state of Tocantins (Brazil). The study demonstrates that survey participants perceived wildfire risk as rather high, although the perceptions were complex and conflicting among interviewees. A wide range of confused perceptions about fire ignition and heterogeneous point of view have carried out form the survey. However, the residence of interviewees and their educational attainment result the variables that significantly (p-value <0.05) affect the inhabitants’ perceptions.


perceptions; fire risk; mitigation behaviors; Cerrado; Brazil

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