Arima published on forest fire prediction, prevention – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Arima published on forest fire prediction, prevention

Assistant Professor Eugenio Arima, of the environmental studies program, is the co-author of a recently published article in the Journal of Regional Sciences. The piece, which was written in collaboration with faculty from Michigan State University and South Dakota State University, uses an innovative model to estimate the probability of forest and agricultural fires in the Brazilian Amazon.

“Fire represents a yearly threat to tropical forests such as found in the Amazon basin, writes Arima and his co-authors, “where a rapidly expanding frontier is bringing human populations and their agricultural practices into pristine natural areas.

“Nevertheless, modeling efforts to date have been limited in their capacity to predict future fire-related events because they fail to take into account key economic factors affecting land use. In the present paper, we attempt to rectify this shortcoming by considering the all-important role of market access to the use of agricultural technology, and by specifying a statistical model that can predict the likelihood of fire across the basin as a function of geo-referenced economic information.

A copy of the paper in pdf format is available upon request to Arima at

Arima has been an assistant professor of environmental studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since the fall 2006, teaching courses on global climate change, human geography and global economy, and introductory GIS.

He holds a doctorate in geography from Michigan State University where he studied logging and forest fragmentation and created a computer model that simulates deforestation based on numerous economic and social variables. He also holds a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Brasilia, Brazil.