Fire severity impacts on winter snowpack: Research Brief

Fire severity impacts on winter snowpack: Research Brief

Fire is a strong driver of changes in montane forest structure in California’s Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade mountain ranges, which provide much of the snowpack and associated water storage for the state of California. This paper investigates how fire can influence snowpack and water storage. 

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Restoring wildfire improves forest drought resistance: Research Brief

Restoring wildfire improves forest drought resistance: Research Brief

This research brief looks at changes in land cover, water, and forest health within the Illilouette Creek Basin in Yosemite National Park. This basin has a unique fire management history, with most areas burned in the last 40 years. Results suggest that fire has had a positive influence on a number of the Basin's ecosystem functions. 

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Do fuel reduction treatments cause beetle mortality or resilience? Research Brief

Do fuel reduction treatments cause beetle mortality or resilience? Research Brief

During normal levels of beetle activity, fuel treatment reductions either cause no trees to die from beetles or just a few. If tree deaths occur, they reinforce fuel hazard reduction and forest restoration goals. 

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Land Use Planning to Reduce WUI Fire Risk in France and California: Research Brief

Land Use Planning to Reduce WUI Fire Risk in France and California: Research Brief

Both Southern France and California have large amounts of housing in the Wildland Urban Interface where local vegetation is highly dense and fire adapted. This research brief compares the land use policies used to reduce the exposure of homes to wildfire in these two locations.  

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Increasing Fire Activity for Arid California: Different Fire Trends from Different Fire Drivers: Research Brief

Increasing Fire Activity for Arid California: Different Fire Trends from Different Fire Drivers: Research Brief

Study results from arid regions in Southern California show how fire trends differ based on unique sets of circumstances. This brief discuses how combinations of direct drivers (like powerline and roadside ignitions),  indirect drivers (like invasive grasses, air pollution, and landscape fragmentation terrestrial intactness) and unknown factors cause diversity in fire trends.

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Wildland Firefighter Exposure to Hydrocarbons: Research Brief

Wildland Firefighter Exposure to Hydrocarbons: Research Brief

Wildland firefighters suppressing wildland fires or conducting prescribed fires work long shifts and are exposed to high levels of smoke with no respiratory protection. This research measures firefighter exposure to smoke and pollutants and offers way to reduce this exposure.

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Parsing Ecosystem Responses: Divergent Fire-Climate Patterns for California Landscapes: Research Brief

Parsing Ecosystem Responses: Divergent Fire-Climate Patterns for California Landscapes: Research Brief

In an era of concern over climate change, it's important to understand how different kinds of fire-adapted of ecosystems in California may respond to climate change in relation to fire. This study categorized Californian ecosystems into three types and discusses how each may be affected by climate change and fire.

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Relative Importance of Building Materials on Structure Survival in San Diego County WUI Wildfires: Research Brief

 Relative Importance of Building Materials on Structure Survival in San Diego County WUI Wildfires: Research Brief

The design and materials used in construction is critical to preventing structure loss during wildland urban interface (WUI) fires. This research helps planners and homeowners by ranking specific construction materials by fire safety effectiveness, then comparing their use to landscape-scale design attributes.

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Pyrodiversity Promotes Avian Diversity in Semi-Arid Forests: Research Brief

Pyrodiversity Promotes Avian Diversity in Semi-Arid Forests: Research Brief

Overall, the results of this study add support to the existing theory that diverse fire increases biodiversity in certain ecosystems. Specifically, this study showed that higher diversity of fire severity patterns within a fire lead to more bird diversity, especially in the fire prone semi-arid forests of the Sierra Nevada.

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Photo: Nine years after the Moonlight fire in Plumas county, California, the landscape shows remarkable resilience with a diversity of habitat structure and birds. Photo courtesy Morgan Tingley.

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Convergent Evolution for Differing Mediterranean Type Ecosystems Biomes: Research Brief

Convergent Evolution for Differing Mediterranean Type Ecosystems Biomes: Research Brief

Five different Mediterranean Type Ecosystems (MTEs) around the world have evolutionarily converged in function with analogous vegetation types. With gorgeous photographic samplers to illustrate each type, we learn why these fire-adapted systems host more biodiversity than every other terrestrial ecosystem outside of the wet tropics.

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Flammable Ecosystems Shaped Three Plant Syndromes

Flammable Ecosystems Shaped Three Plant Syndromes

Because the evidence for fire as an evolutionary force is so overwhelming, Pausas et al. (2016) conveniently organized fire-adapted plant species into three syndromes for better management. The resulting Non-Fast-Hot syndrome scheme shows how different plant species likely evolved to either resist or use three dimensions of flammability (ignitability, fire spread rate, and heat release) for higher fitness. 

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Pyrodiversity Doesn’t Always Increase Biodiversity: An Example from Australia: Research Brief

Pyrodiversity Doesn’t Always Increase Biodiversity: An Example from Australia: Research Brief

Site-scale sampling methodologies could be misleading, especially for arid, geographically heterogeneous, biodiversity hotspots. These authors (Taylor et al. 2012) use a landscape-scale methodology to examine one such habitat, 'tree mallee' that has similar fire and ecologic traits to central and southern semi-arid habitats like chaparral. In addition, this study shows that postfire age class heterogeneity doesn’t increase avian species richness in this semi-arid habitat with long fire return intervals.

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Drought and Fire in California: Research Synthesis

Drought and Fire in California: Research Synthesis

The likely effects of drought associated with climate change in the United States have recently been synthesized by James M. Vose, James S. Clark, Charles H. Luce and Toral Patel-Weynand. Here we summarize their conclusions as they apply to drought and fire and provide examples of how these conditions are affecting different ecosystems in California.

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Strategic Land Purchases for Private Land Conservation to Reduce Fire Risk: Research Briefs

Strategic Land Purchases for Private Land Conservation to Reduce Fire Risk: Research Briefs

In Southern California,  fuel treatment strategies often put fire risk reduction and biodiversity conservation goals at odds with each other. In response to this conflict, two of our briefs (Syphard et al. 2016; Butsic et al. 2016) explore a novel new approach. 

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Increased fire area and severity in the Sierra Nevada warrant fuels reductions and wildland fire use

Increased fire area and severity in the Sierra Nevada warrant fuels reductions and wildland fire use

The authors assessed relative and absolute changes in wildfire area and severity in seven forest types arrayed along an elevational gradient in the Sierra Nevada and adjacent forested mountains. Findings suggest that there is a major fire “deficit” in the greater Sierra Nevada Region, across all major forest types. However, the nature of this deficit differs among forest types.

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Shrub control associated with reforestation in high-severity burn areas promotes understory diversity: Research Brief

Shrub control associated with reforestation in high-severity burn areas promotes understory diversity: Research Brief

Bohlman et al. conducted a study looking at the effects of post-fire reforestation on understory plant species richness and composition, as well as stand structure. Three different aged fires were selected to assess the role of time since fire on the different stand components.

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