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The frequency and intensity of forest fires have increased dramatically in many parts of the world in recent years, resulting in major impacts on forests and on rural and urban people and economies. Faced with increasing fire occurrences and decreasing fire suppression budgets, government agencies, local organizations and forest users must consider the full range of fire management options from around the world. By considering proactive approaches - in particular those that engage local communities in the planning and implementing of fire management activities - fire management organizations may avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past. This publication features case studies documenting a range of local fire management scenarios, each with a diverse set of land uses and desired outcomes. The community-based fire management (CBFiM) approaches from China, The Gambia, Honduras, India, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), and Turkey presented in this publication illustrate a recent shift in direction; a movement away from centralized and state-driven forest fire management towards decentralized and mainly community-based management regimes. These approaches offer promise as more effective and more sustainable than conventional fire management and suppression approaches over the long term. However, they may operate effectively only where local populations are already adequately empowered to manage and use natural resources. It is imperative that practical steps are taken to capture the opportunities that CBFiM has to offer and to identify viable frameworks for moving these initiatives forward. It is hoped that this publication will serve to advance these measures wherever appropriate.

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