Paige Fischer

Assistant Professor


PhD, Oregon State University (forest resources social science)

MS, Oregon State University (forest resources social science)

BA, Hampshire College (cultural anthropology)

(734) 763-3830


Paige Fischer, PhD, serves as an Assistant Professor at SEAS. Fischer's research group focuses on human dimensions of environmental change. The primary goal of her research is to increase scientific understanding of human behavior as it relates to the sustainability of socio-ecological systems. She also investigates factors that enable and constrain human adaptation to environmental change including natural hazards and climate-related changes.

Fischer is 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. She draws on theories from the fields of natural resource sociology and human geography in my work. Her methods include qualitative interview analysis, quantitative survey analysis and social network analysis. She collaborates with researchers from diverse disciplines using a broad range of analytical approaches and strives to address problems of concern to local practitioners.

  • 2016-2018: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis. Human Adaptation to Climate Change and Effects on Upper Midwest Forests. PI with Bill Currie, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment. $140,000.
  • 2016-2017: University of Michigan MCubed Program. Human Adaptation to Climate Change in Forest Ecosystems. 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, $60,000.
  • 2015-2020: USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. 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. PI, $52,000.
  • 2015-2016: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Coastal Community Resilience. PI. $24,485.
  • 2014 – 2016: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis project 1003473, Fostering Healthy Forests in Mixed Ownership Landscapes: Social Constraints and Opportunities for Management across Property Boundaries by Private Owners. P.I. $55,000.


National Science Foundation Coupled Human and Natural Systems Fellowship (2012).

USDA Forest Service Science Findings Award (2012).

Oregon State University Alumnus of the Year Award (2011).

Ford Foundation Community Forestry Research Fellowship (2005).

Starker Fellowship in Private and Family Forestry (2001-2006).

Select publications: 
  • Hamilton, M., Fischer, A. P., and Ager, A. (2019). A social-ecological network approach for understanding wildfire risk governance. Global Environmental Change
  • Fischer, A. P. (In press). Characterizing behavioral adaptation to climate change in temperate forest landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning.
  • Hamilton, M., A.P. Fischer, S. Guikema and G. Keppel-Aleks. (2018). Behavioral adaptation to climate change in fire-prone forests. Wires Climate Change.
  • Fischer, A.P. Forest landscapes as social-ecological systems (2018). Landscape and Urban Planning. 177: 138-147.
  • Fischer, A. P. and Frazier, T. G. (2018). Social vulnerability to climate change in temperate forest areas: incorporating new measures of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 108(3): 658-678.
  • Fischer, A. P., & Jasny, L. (2017). Capacity to adapt to environmental change: evidence from a network of organizations concerned with increasing wildfire risk. Ecology and Society, 22(1):23.
  • Fischer, A. P., Spies, T. A., Steelman, T. A., Moseley, C., Johnson, B. R., Bailey, J. D., Ager, A. A., Bourgeron, P., Charnley, S., Collins, B. M., Kline, J. D., Leahy, J. E., Littell, J. S., Millington, J. D. A., Nielsen-Pincus, M., Olsen, C. S., Paveglio, T. B., Roos, C. I., Steen-Adams, M. M., Stevens, F. R., Vukomanovic, J., White, E. M., & Bowman, D. M. J. S. (2016). Wildfire risk as a socio-ecological pathology. Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, 14(5), 1-9. https://doi:10.1002/fee.1283
  • Fischer, A. P., Vance-Borland, K., Jasny, L., Grimm, K. E., & Charnley, S. (2016). A network approach to assessing social capacity for landscape planning: the case of fire-prone forests in Oregon, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning, 147, 18-27. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.10.006

Read more publications here.