World's foremost fire historian to keynote symposium on April 1

Conservation professionals, wildlife enthusiasts, forest managers and government officials are invited to “Fire in the Eastern United States,” a symposium featuring Professor Stephen J. Pyne of Arizona State University who is one of the world’s leading experts in fire history and ecology. Sponsored by the Penn State Environmental Law Review, this interdisciplinary event will focus on formulation of fire policy in the Eastern United States. The event is open to the public.

“We expect the symposium to inform policy makers and land managers -- those responsible for forests and ecology -- on a wide range of issues that impact fire policy east of the Mississippi. An example of that would be a discussion on the reintroduction of low intensity fires to the landscape in this part of the country," said Samuel Wiest, symposium editor of the "Penn State Environmental Law Review."

Pyne will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. A former member of the fire crew in Grand Canyon National Park, Pyne is a member of the Wildlife Advisory Group for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the author of more than a dozen books on fire and its history.

“Fire and humanity have become inseparable and indispensable. Together they have repeatedly remade the earth,” he wrote in his 1995 work "World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth."

Other panelists include:

  • Lincoln Bramwell, historian with the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Fred Cheever, associate dean of academic affairs of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, who writes about federal public land law, the Endangered Species Act, and land conservation transactions.
  • Todd Sampsell, director of conservation operations of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
  • Annecoos Wiersema, assistant professor of law at Ohio State University, who researches the development of national and international legal institutions that protect species and ecosystems.
  • Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology at Penn State, who researches disturbance ecology and the impact of fire exclusion on mid-Atlantic forests.
  • Erica Smithwick, assistant professor of geography at Penn State, who studies ecosystem-wide impacts of forest fire and other disturbances and directs Landscape Ecology at Penn State.

The event begins at 1 p.m. in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium of Lewis Katz Building and will be simulcast to Penn State Law facilities at 333 West South Street in Carlisle, Pa. For more information, visit http://www.law.psu.edu/ online. Media inquiries may be directed to Ellen Foreman at 814-865-9030.

Contacts: 
Last Updated February 24, 2010