USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Programs and Projects


Wildland Recreation and Urban Cultures

James Absher
Research Social Scientist
E-mail: none
Phone: (951) 680-1559

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Forest Fire Laboratory
4955 Canyon Crest Drive
Riverside, CA 92507

Ph: (951) 680-1500
Fx: (951) 680-1501

Ph.D., 1979, University of California, Berkeley, Wildland Resource Science
M.A., 1974, San Jose State University, Natural Sciences
B.A., 1971, Stanford University, Human Biology
B.S., 1970, Stanford University, Statistics .
Research Interests/Duties
Dr. Absher has nearly 40 years experience applying social science to natural resource management issues. For the past 14 years Dr. Absher has held the position of Research Social Scientist with the US Forest Service’s Wildland Recreation and Urban Cultures research work unit. Previously he held faculty positions at the Universities of Illinois, Georgia and South Australia. His main research foci are customer service, carrying capacity, communications, and the human dimensions of wildland fire. Recently he has published work on social carrying capacity, social trust, recreation fees, volunteer management, ethnicity, wildland fire beliefs and homeowners’ defensible space behaviors. In general, he looks at ways to better understand who uses our wildlands, parks and protected areas, what they expect or perceive, how well their needs are being met, and the tools managers have to facilitate appropriate use.
Current Emphases, Studies, Projects
Volunteerism and volunteer management capacity in land management agencies
Social carrying capacity and recreation use management
Wildland fire: Defensible space behaviors and agency communication programs

Selected Publications
Absher, J.D.; Vaske, J.J.; Bright, A.D..2008. Basic Beliefs, Attitudes, and Social Norms Regarding Wildland Fire Management in Southern California. In Chavez, D.J.; Absher, J.D.; Winter, P.L. Fire social science research from the Pacific Southwest research station: studies supported by national fire plan funds. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW GTR-209. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. p. 45-56.
Absher, J.D.; Vaske, J.J. 2007. Modelling Public support for wildland fire policy. In K.M. Reynolds, A.J. Thomson, M.A. Shannon, M. Köhl, D. Ray and K. Rennolls (eds.) Sustainable forestry in theory and practice: From monitoring and modelling to knowledge and policy sciences. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 159-170.
Absher, J.D., Vaske, J.J. 2006. An analysis of homeowner and agency wildland fire mitigation strategies, In J. Peden & R. Shuster (eds.). Proceedings of the 2005 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rpt. NE-341. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. , p. 231-236
Absher, J.D., Vaske, J.J., Bright, A.D., Donnelley, M.P. 2006. Ipsative crystallization effects on wildland fire attitude—policy support models. Society & Natural Resources 19, 381-392
Absher, J.D., Graefe, A.G., Burns, R.C. 2008. Longitudinal Monitoring of Public Reactions to the U.S. Forest Service Recreation Fee Program. In: Visitor Management in Nature-based Tourism: Strategies and Success Factors for Recreational and Protected Areas. Siegrist, D.; Clivaz, C.; Hunziker, M.; & Iten, S. (eds.) Volume 2. Series of the Institute for Landscape and Open Space. Rapperswil, Switzerland: Institute for Landscape and Open Space, HSR University of Applied Sciences. pp. 9-15.

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 03:00:08 PM