Burning the landscape
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Fire, both natural and anthropomorphic, has sculpted nearly every aspect of human culture. Landscapes are especially prone to the force of fire. Many so called “natural” landscapes designated as national parks and reserves in both the United States and Australia are actually the creations of Native American and Aboriginal fire regimes. Fire suppression in the last 100 years has altered environments, creating new patterns that do not necessarily contribute to the traditional characteristics of the landscapes preserved in national parks and reserves. This document examines the recent shift in cultural landscape management from total fire suppression to the use of controlled and prescribed burning in maintaining specific characteristics in the landscape, and how the renewed use of fire relates to the preservation of certain landscapes. Fire management policies, along with public attitude toward landscape fires pertaining to selected regions of the United States and Australia, are explored and analyzed.