Scott L. Stephens




  • Ph.D. Wildland Resource Science University of California, Berkeley, 1995
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering Sacramento State University, 1985

Research Interests

Wildland fire science, fire ecology, forest ecology, forest policy, forest management

Research Description

I am interested in the interactions of wildland fire and ecosystems. This includes how prehistoric fires once interacted with ecosystems, how current wildland fires are affecting ecosystems, and how future fires and management may change this interaction. I am also interested in wildland fire and forest policy and how it can be improved to meet the challenges of the next decades. How fire will be affected by climate change is a new area of research.

Wildland fires typically have very complex behaviors. They are affected by changes in fuels, topography, weather, and ignition patterns. This diverse behavior produces equally diverse effects. I believe to predict fire effects you must first quantify fire behavior and fuel consumption, fire size, fire season, and past fire occurrence. In many cases the use of replicated experimental prescribed fires are necessary to make inferences. Currently there is substantial debate on how or if land managers should reduce fuel hazards or engage in salvage logging and have given testimony on this topic on three occasions at the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health and Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands. I believe the central question in this debate is the definition of desired future conditions for our diverse ecosystems. Once we have this then we must decide what management tools are appropriate to achieve and maintain the desired conditions

Visit my lab website for more information.


Honors and Awards

Fullbright Fellowship in 2014 to Western Australia

Certified Senior Fire Ecologists from the Association for Fire Ecology

ESPM Department teaching award for ESPM 181A Fire Science

Contact Information

Email: sstephens[at]

Office: 209 Mulford Hall; Lab: 360 Mulford Hall

Office Phone: (510) 642-7304

Lab Phone: (510) 642-4934


Office Hours

MW 11-12 or by appointment, Updated: 2015

Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
UC Berkeley
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720