5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 3:30 PM
Fire ecology hypertext: a tool for synthesizing and distributing knowledge
Cynthia T. Fowler, USDA, Athens, GA; and D. Kennard and H. M. Rauscher
The Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science synthesizes 50 years of research and presents it in hyperspace. The Encyclopedia provides information about fire ecology in the form of text, models, expert systems, hyperlinks, and data base access. The most unique aspect of this Encyclopedia is that it is a hyperdocument a highly nonlinear and interactive mixture of text, graphics, images, video, and audio. Hyperdocuments increase the power of text to communicate meaning.

The Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science accommodates users of varying skill levels and interests. The Encyclopedia is an especially useful aide for problem solving and decision making. It assists land managers and policy makers in the evaluation of the social, economic, and ecological aspects of fire. In addition, the Encyclopedia provides coherent, meaningful, original reviews and analyses of fire science literature for researchers as well as the general public. Interested parties can access the latest and best knowledge through their own Internet connection.

The Encyclopedia covers a wide range of topics related to fire. Entries are written by experts from numerous universities, private organizations and within the USDA Forest Service. These entries are arranged into five major divisions: Fire and People, Fire Principles, Fire Effects, Fire Ecology, Prescribed Burning and Smoke, and Wildfire. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service is designing an original software program for this encyclopedia that enables each entry to be peer reviewed to insure quality and accuracy. The software also enables an open-ended update of information. This evolutionary improvement of the hypertext encyclopedia accommodates the continuous addition of new pages and new associative links as new research knowledge and management experience are developed. In our presentation at the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress, we will give an overview of the topics that will be covered in the encyclopedia and illustrate the development of the hypertext.

Supplementary URL: