New centre at UBC to advance wildfire research, collaboration and innovation

By Lori Daniels, Koerner Chair in Wildfire Coexistence
UBC Faculty of Forestry
April 5, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Centre for Wildfire Coexistence at UBC Forestry is made possible by a generous $5 million donation from the Koerner family.  Our center is pioneering proactive forest and fire approaches to tackle the challenges of our changing climate.  Our goal is to co-develop and deliver the transformative change required to coexist with wildfire and adapt to warming climate.

During extreme fire weather in 2023, wildfires burned diverse forests, homes and communities across Canada, illustrating the urgent need for “all-of-society” actions to address wildfire risk.  The four nearly back-to-back extreme wildfire seasons from 2017 to 2023 collectively affected all parts of BC – emphasizing vulnerability of all communities along the coast, interior mountains, and northern boreal forests – with strong parallels across our nation.

The new centre will advance research, collaboration and innovation to enable society to coexist with wildfire through proactive forest management and eco-cultural restoration. Our focus is on “good fire”, cultural fire stewardship led by Indigenous collaborators, as well as forest thinning to emulate historical good fires, combined with prescribed fire when safe to do so, to restore plant diversity, resilient ecosystems, and mitigate risk of future fires.

Secure funding for the CWC enables us to expand and invest in our existing collaborations with Indigenous Nations, Community Forests, municipalities, and other grass-roots organizations. Our research group has established strong foundations for adaptive change:

  • world-class science and social science to understand past, present and future wildfires;
  • field-based and modelling frameworks for assessing proactive treatments from forest patches near neighbourhoods to landscapes that provide drinking water for communities; and
  • established long-term post-fire ecosystem and community recovery to document successes and guide adaptive management. 

We are dedicated to public education, outreach and extension of our research findings all organizations aiming to adapt to climate change.

We invite new collaborations and look forward to working with others across BC and Canada to seek long-term solutions, while addressing the short-term urgency of wildfire risk reduction.


Lori Daniels

Dr. Lori D. Daniels, Professor 
Koerner Chair in Wildfire Coexistence
Faculty of Forestry | Forest and Conservation Sciences

NEW Centre for Wildfire Coexistence:

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