I am an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Oregon’s Institute for Resilient Organizations, Communities, and Environments (iROCE) and the Associate Director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP). An ecological and environmental anthropologist by training, my research is interdisciplinary but falls broadly into environmental social sciences. As Associate Director of EWP, my applied research focuses on human dimensions of wildfire and natural resources management. This work investigates social and economic aspects of landscape restoration and conservation policies and practices as well as societal responses to wildfire and wildfire smoke.

I additionally lead and collaborate on projects related to long-term human-environment interactions and socioecological resilience. This work combines theory and method in cultural and archaeological anthropology, as well as quantitative geographical sciences (GIS) to examine human-landscape dynamics. This research is predominantly focused on the place-based interplay of land use and management, social institutions, and human agency. I have specific interests in Indigenous and traditional fire knowledge and practice, sustainable forest management, and the long-term sustainability and conservation of soils and water. In order to pursue these interests, I continue to develop cross-disciplinary collaborations with a wide variety of environmentally-oriented scientists.

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ResearchGate Page


Coughlan, M., Huber-Stearns, H., and Schultz, C. (2021). Brief Communication: Piloting a Climate-Change Adaptation Index on US National Forest Lands. Journal of Forestry. fvab032.  

Santo, A. R., Coughlan, M., Huber-Stearns, H., Adams, M. D., & Kohler, G. (2021). Changes in Relationships between the USDA Forest Service and Small, Forest-Based Communities in the Northwest Forest Plan Area amid Declines in Agency Staffing. Journal of Forestry, 119 (3), 291-304.

Coughlan, M; Huber-Stearns, H.; Adams, M.D.O.: Kohler, G.; Rhodewalt, A. In Press. Ten Nonmetropolitan, Forest-based Communities in the Northwest Forest Plan area, a comparative case study approach. In: Grinspoon, E., ed. Northwest Forest Plan—the first 25 years (1994–2018): socioeconomic monitoring results. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-xxx. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. xx p.

Coughlan, M, D. Leigh, T. Gragson, M. Le Couédic. In Press. Holocene anthropization of mid-elevation landscapes around Pic d’Orhy, Western Pyrenees. Chapter contribution in: Archaeology Of Mountain Landscapes: Interdisciplinary Research Strategies Of Agro-Pastoralism In Upland Regions. Institute of Mediterranean and European Archaeology. SUNY Press, Binghamton, New York.

Gragson, T., M. Coughlan, D. Leigh. 2020. Contingency and Agency in the Mountain Landscapes of the Western Pyrenees: A Place-Based Approach to the Long Anthropocene. MDPI Sustainability 12 (9).

Bouillon, C., M. Amraoui, P. Chamusca, M. Coughlan, H. Madureira, J. Fernandes, J. Parente7, M. Pereira. 2020. The relation of landscape characteristics, human settlements, spatial planning, and fuel management with extreme wildfires, Chapter 4.  Extreme Wildfire Events and Disasters: Root Causes and New Management Strategies. Elsevier.

Tedim, F., V. Leone, D. Paton, M. Coughlan, C. Bouillon, G. Xanthopoulos, D. Roye, F. Correia, C. Ferreira. 2020. Extreme wildfire events: the definition, Chapter 1. Extreme Wildfire Events and Disasters: Root Causes and New Management Strategies. Elsevier.

Tedim, F., V. Leone, S. McCaffrey, T. McGee, M. Coughlan, F. Correia, C. Magalhães. 2020. Enhance safety in extreme wildfire events, Chapter 5. Extreme Wildfire Events and Disasters: Root Causes and New Management Strategies. Elsevier.

McCaffrey, S., T. McGee, M. Coughlan, F. Tedim. 2020. Social Science contributions to understanding human response to wildfire, Chapter 8. Extreme Wildfire Events and Disasters: Root Causes and New Management Strategies. Elsevier

Coughlan, M., D. Nelson. 2019. Geostatistical analysis of historical contingency and land use footprints in the prehistoric settlement dynamics of the South Carolina Piedmont, North America. Journal of Archaeological Science 107: 1-9.

Coughlan, M., B. Magi, K. Derr. 2018. A Global Analysis of Hunter-Gatherers, Broadcast Fire Use, and Lightning-Fire-Prone Landscapes. MDPI Fire 1 (3), 41

Coughlan, M., D. Nelson. 2018. Influences of Native American land use on the Colonial Euro-American settlement of the South Carolina Piedmont. PLoS One.

Coughlan, M. 2018.Environmental management with fire. The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. Edited by Sandra L. López Varela. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Tedim, F., V. Leone, M. Amraoui , C. Bouillon , M. Coughlan , G. Delogu , P. Fernandes , C. Ferreira , S. McCaffrey , T. McGee , J. Parente , D. Paton , M. Pereira, L. Ribeiro , G. Xabthopoulos , D. Viegas. 2018. Defining extreme wildfire events: difficulties, challenges, and impacts. MDPI Fire 1(1), p9.

Coughlan, M., D. Nelson, M. Lonneman, A. Block. 2017. Historical Land Use Dynamics in the Highly Degraded Landscape of the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory. Land 6 (2):32. doi:10.3390/land6020032.

Roos, C., A. Scott, C. Belcher, W. Chaloner, J. Aylen, M. Coughlan, B. Johnson, F. Johnston, J. McMorrow, T. Steelman, R. Bliege Bird. 2016. Living on a flammable planet: interdisciplinary, cross-scalar, and cross-cultural lessons, prospects, and challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 371: 20150469. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0469

Kehrwald, N., J. Aleman, M. Coughlan, C. Courtney Mustaphi, E. Githumbi, B. Magi, J. Marlon, M. Power. 2016. One thousand years of fires: Integrating proxy and model data. Frontiers of Biogeography. 8(1):155-159.

Coughlan, M. 2016. Wildland arson as clandestine resource management: A space-time permutation analysis and classification of informal fire management regimes in Georgia, USA. Environmental Management.

The final publication is available at Springer Here

Hantson, S., S. Kloster, M. Coughlan, A.-L. Daniau, B. Vannière, T. Brücher, N. Kehrwald, and B. I. Magi. 2016. Fire in the Earth System – bridging data and modelling research. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00319.1

Final publication Here

Coughlan, M., T. Gragson. 2016. An Event History Analysis of Parcel Extensification and Household Abandonment in Pays Basque, French Pyrenees, 1830-1958 AD. Human Ecology.

The final publication is available at Springer Here

Gragson T., D. Leigh, M. Coughlan. 2015. Basque Cultural Landscapes of the Western French Pyrenees. Il Capitale Culturale, Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage. 12: 565-596.

Leigh, D, T. Gragson, M. Coughlan. 2015. Colluvial legacies of millennial landscape change on individual hillsides, place-based investigation in the western Pyrenees Mountains. Quaternary International. 

Leigh, D, T. Gragson, M. Coughlan. 2015. Chronology and pedogenic effects of mid- to late-Holocene conversion of forests to pastures in the French western Pyrenees. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. 59(2): 225-245.

Coughlan, M. 2015. Traditional fire use, landscape transition, and the legacies of social theory past: An overview of theoretical propositions and research priorities in the study of historical fire ecology. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-015-0643-y.

Coughlan, M. 2014. Farmers, flames, and forests: historical ecology of pastoral fire use and landscape change in the French Western Pyrenees. Forest Ecology and Management. 312: 55-66.

Coughlan, M. 2013. Unauthorized firesetting as socioecological disturbance: a spatiotemporal analysis of “incendiary wildfires” in Georgia, USA, 1987-2010. Fire Ecology 9(3).

Coughlan M. 2013. Errakina: Pastoral fire use and landscape memory in the Basque region of the French Western Pyrenees. Journal of Ethnobiology 33(1): 86-104.

Coughlan M. and A. Petty. 2013. Fire as a dimension of historical ecology: A response to Bowman et al.’s The human dimensions of fire regimes on Earth. Journal of Biogeography 40(5): 1010-1012.

Coughlan M. and A. Petty. 2012. Linking humans and fire: a proposal for a transdisciplinary fire ecology. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21:477-487.

Magi, B., M. Coughlan, A. Ewards, M. Hurteau, A. Petty, F. Seijo, C. Wiedimyer. 2008. Meeting Report from AIMES (Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System) Young Scholar’s Network Workshop on Cultural Uses and Impacts of Fire: Past, Present, and Future. Eos 89 (40):380.

Coughlan, M. 2004. Large Diameter Trees and the Political Culture of ‘Restoration’: a Case Study of the Grand Canyon Forest Partnership, Flagstaff, Arizona. Arizona Anthropologist 15:48-72.

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