Paige Fischer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. Forest Resources social science, Oregon State University, 2007
M.S. Forest Resources social science, Oregon State University, 2003
B.A. Cultural Anthropology, Hampshire College, 1994



My research group focuses on human dimensions of environmental change in forest ecosystems. The primary goal of my research is to increase scientific understanding of human behavior as it relates to the sustainability of socio-ecological systems. I investigate factors that enable and constrain human adaptation to environmental change including natural hazards and climate-related changes. I am particularly interested in understanding the capacity of individuals (e.g., private landowners) and organizations (e.g., natural resource agencies and environmental organizations) to adapt to environmental change through individual and collective natural resource management and environmental conservation actions. I draw on theories from the fields of natural resource sociology and human geography in my work. My methods include qualitative interview analysis, quantitative survey analysis and social network analysis. I collaborate with researchers from diverse disciplines using a broad range of analytical approaches and strive to address problems of concern to local practitioners.


Research Topics and Methods

  • Human adaptation to environmental change
  • Coupled human and natural systems
  • Landscape management, conservation and natural resource policy
  • Private landowner behavior
  • Qualitative individual and focus group research
  • Mail and web survey design and administration
  • Social network analysis


Current and Recent Research Studies

"Human Adaptation to Climate Change and Effects on Upper Midwest Forests," 2016-2018. Funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis. PI with Bill Currie, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment.

"Human Adaptation to Climate Change in Forest Ecosystems," 2016-2017. University of Michigan MCubed Program. Co-PI with Seth Guikema, University of Michigan, Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, and Gretchen Keppel-Aleks, University of Michigan, Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering.

"Coastal Community Resilience," 2015-present. Funded by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Understanding the Wildfire Risk Perceptions and Mitigation Practices of Nonindustrial Private Forest Owners: A Proposal for Research in the Lake States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan," 2015-present. Funded by USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station.

“Fostering Healthy Forests in Mixed Ownership Landscapes: Social Constraints and Opportunities for Management across Property Boundaries by Private Owners,” 2014 – present. Funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis project 1003473.

"Private Forest Landowner Collaboration for Restoring Fire-Prone Forests," 2014-present. Funded by USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.

“Forest Governance, Social Networks and Landscape Dynamics in the Western Cascades," a project of "Long-Term Ecological Research at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (LTER7),” 2014 – 2020. Funded by the National Science Foundation. PI: M. Nelson, Oregon State University.

“Assessment of Socio-Economic Vulnerability to Climate-Related Changes in Forests and Grasslands in the U.S. Northwest,” 2013 – present. Funded by USDA Forest Service Region 6 and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center. Co-PI with Michael Hand, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.

“Forest, People, Fire: Coupled Natural and Human Systems in Fire‐Prone Landscapes: Interactions, Dynamics, and Adaptation,” 2009 – 2014. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station. PIs: T. Spies (Forest Service PNW) and J. Bolte (OSU).


Select Peer-reviewed Publications

2016. Fischer, A.P., T.A. Spies, T.A. Steelman, C. Moseley, B.R. Johnson, J.D. Bailey, A.A. Ager, P. Bourgeron, S. Charnley, B.M. Collins, J.D. Kline, J.E. Leahy, J.S. Littell, J.D.A. Millington, M. Nielsen-Pincus, C.S. Olsen, T.B. Paveglio, C.I. Roos, M.M. Steen-Adams, F.R. Stevens, J. Vukomanovic, E.M. White, D.M.J.S. Bowman. Wildfire risk as a socio-ecological pathology. Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment 14 (5): 1-9. doi:10.1002/fee.1283

2016. Fischer, A.P., K. Vance-Borland, L. Jasny, K. Grimm, S. Charnley. The role of organizational networks in landscape-scale planning and management for fire-prone forests. Landscape and Urban Planning. 147: 18-27.

2015. Fischer, A.P. A boundary spanning organization for transdisciplinary science on land stewardship: The Stewardship Network of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ecology and Society 20(4): 38.

2015. Ager AA, Kline JD and Fischer A.P. Coupling the biophysical and social dimensions of wildfire risk to improve wildfire mitigation planning Risk Analysis 35: 1393-1406.

2015. Hummel, S., A. P. Fischer, E. Lowell, and J. Lehmkuhl. Social trends affecting successful implementation of forest restoration guidelines. In Silviculture and monitoring guidelines for integrating restoration of dry mixed-conifer forest and spotted owl habitat management in the Eastern Cascade range, edited by John; Gaines Lehmkuhl, William; Peterson, Dave W.; Bailey, John; Youngblood, Andrew, 158. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.

2014. Paveglio, T. C. Moseley, M.S. Carroll Matthew, D.R. Williams, E.J. Davis, A.P. Fischer. Categorizing the social context of the wildland urban interface: Adaptive capacity for wildfire and community ‘archetypes’. Forest Science 61(2): 298-310.

2014. Olsen, C., D. Mazzotta, E. Toman and A. P. Fischer (2014). Communicating about smoke from wildland fire: Challenges and opportunities for managers. Environmental Management 54 (3): 571-582.

2014. Fischer, A. P., K. Vance-Borland, K. M. Burnett, S. Hummel, J. H. Creighton, S. L. Johnson and L. Jasny. Does the social capital in networks of “fish and fire” scientists and managers suggest learning? Society & Natural Resources 27(7): 671-688.

2014. Spies, T. A., E. M. White, J. D. Kline, A. P. Fischer, A. Ager, J. Bailey, J. Bolte, J. Koch, E. Platt, C. S. Olsen, D. Jacobs, B. Shindler, M. M. Steen-Adams and R. Hammer. Examining fire-prone forest landscapes as coupled human and natural systems. Ecology and Society 19(3).

2013. Fischer, A.P., J.D. Kline, A. Ager, S. Charnley and K. Olsen. Objective and perceived wildfire risk and their influence on private forest owners’ fuel treatment activities in Oregon’s ponderosa pine region. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(8): 143-153.

2013. Fischer, A.P., T. Paveglio, M. Carroll, D. Murphy and H. Brenkert-Smith. Assessing social vulnerability to climate change in human communities near public forests and grasslands: A framework for resource managers and planners. Journal of Forestry 111(5): 357-365.

2013. Fischer, A.P., A. Korejwa, J. Koch, T.A. Spies, C.S. Olsen, E.M. White and D. Jacobs. Using an agent-based social network model to investigate interactions between social and ecological systems: early reflections on the Forest, People, Fire project. Practicing Anthropology 35(1): 8-13.

2012. Fischer, A.P., J.D. Kline, S. Charnley and C.S. Olsen. Identifying policy target groups with qualitative and quantitative methods: the case of wildfire risk on nonindustrial private forest lands. Journal of Forest Policy and Economics 25: 62-71.

2012. Fischer, A.P. and S. Charnley. Risk and cooperation: reducing hazardous fuels on private forest lands in eastern Oregon. Environmental Management 49 (6):1192-1207

2012. Fischer, A.P. and S. Charnley. Private forest owners and invasive plants in Oregon:  risk perception and management. Invasive Plant Science and Management 5(3):375-398.

2011. Fischer, A.P. Reducing hazardous fuels on nonindustrial private forests: factors influencing landowner decisions. Journal of Forestry 109 (5): 260-266.

2011. Bliss, J.C. and A.P. Fischer. Toward a Political Ecology of Ecosystem Restoration. In Integrating Nature and Culture: Exploring the Human Dimensions of Ecological Restoration. D.J. Egan, E. Hjerpe and J. Abrams. Washington D.C., Island Press136-148.

2010. Fischer, A.P., J. Bliss, F. Ingemarson, G. Lidestav and L. Lönnstedt. From the small woodland problem to ecosocial systems: the evolution of social research on small-scale forestry in Sweden and the USA. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 25 (4): 390 - 398.

2010. Fischer, A.P. and S. Charnley. Social and cultural influences on management for carbon sequestration on U.S. family forestlands: a literature synthesis. International Journal of Forestry Research 2010: 14.

2009. Fischer, A.P. and J.C. Bliss. Framing conservation on private lands:  conserving oak in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Society and Natural Resources 22(10):884-900.

2008. Fischer, A.P. and J.C. Bliss. Behavioral assumptions of conservation policy: conserving oak habitat on family forestland in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Conservation Biology 22(2): 275-283.

2007. Charnley, S., A.P. Fischer and E.T. Jones. Integrating traditional and local ecological knowledge into forest biodiversity conservation in the Pacific Northwest. Forest Ecology and Management 246: 14–28.

2006. Fischer, A.P. and J.C. Bliss. Mental and biophysical terrains of biodiversity: conservation of oak woodland on family forests. Society and Natural Resources 19(7): 625-643. 



3008 Dana
(734) 763-3830