Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics for the Society of American Foresters (SAF), which was most recently revised in 2000, well describes the ethical stewardship of our natural resources, and was both the inspiration and the cornerstone of AFE’s Code of Ethics.  Our adaptation of SAF’s Code of Ethics emphasizes the same principles as stated by SAF, but within a fire ecology/management context.  Used with permission.  AFE's latest updates were made in June 2016.


Service to society is the cornerstone of any profession. The profession of fire ecology serves society by promoting appropriate stewardship of ecosystems around the world. Members of the Association for Fire Ecology have a deep and enduring interest regarding the role of fire in landscapes.

In their various roles as practitioners, teachers, researchers, advisers, administrators, and fire managers members seek to better understand past and contemporary fire regimes. This understanding is actively shared, distributed and improved upon.

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to protect and serve society by inspiring, guiding, and governing members in the conduct of their professional lives. Compliance with the code demonstrates members’ respect for the land and their commitment to the long-term management of ecosystems, and ensures just and honorable professional and human relationships, mutual confidence and respect, and competent service to society.

On joining the Association for Fire Ecology, members assume a special responsibility to the profession and to society by promising to uphold and abide by the following:

Principles and Pledges

  1. Ecologists have a responsibility to manage land for both current and future generations. We pledge to practice and advocate fire management that will maintain the long-term capacity of the land to provide the variety of materials, uses, and values desired by land manages and society.
  2. Sound science is the foundation of the fire ecology profession. We pledge to strive for continuous improvement of our methods and our personal knowledge and skills; to perform only those services for which we are qualified; and in the biological, physical, and social sciences to use the most appropriate data, methods, and technology.
  3. Public policy related to fire must be based on both scientific principles and societal values. We pledge to use our knowledge and skills to help formulate sound fire management policies.
  4. Honest and open communication, coupled with respect for information given in confidence, is essential to good service. We pledge to always present, to the best of our ability, accurate and complete information; to indicate on whose behalf any public statements are made; to fully disclose and resolve any existing or potential conflicts of interest; and to keep proprietary information confidential unless the appropriate person authorizes its disclosure.
  5. Professional and civic behavior must be based on honesty, fairness, good will, and respect for the law. We pledge to conduct ourselves in a civil and dignified manner; to act professionally and respectfully toward one another; to respect the needs, contributions, and viewpoints of others; and to give due credit to others for their methods, ideas, or assistance. To this end, we prohibit: abusive language towards a staff member, volunteer or another participant or others; harassment of or any form of discrimination against another participant, staff member, volunteer or others; actual or threatened violence toward any individual or group; conduct endangering the life, safety, health or well-being of others.
  6. Through our work in promoting fire ecology, we demonstrate a commitment to the public good; respect for the dignity and worth of individuals; a desire to promote inclusiveness, diversity and social justice. We engage ourselves in our collective mission with transparency, integrity, and honesty.

The Association for Fire Ecology’s Bylaws specify processes through which a member or participant’s violation of the code may lead to reprimand, censure, expulsion from the Association, or other disciplinary action.


Any two persons, whether or not AFE members, may charge a member or participant in AFE activities with violation of the code. Such a charge must be made in writing to the AFE President or a Board member and must refer to the specific Pledges alleged to have been violated.

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