Losing Southern California Sky Islands with Big Fire: Research Brief

Losing Southern California Sky Islands with Big Fire:  Research Brief

Unlike the well-studied, large conifer forests of the northern Sierra Nevada, southern California conifer forests are less-studied and represent only about 8% of the landscape. But much like the forests to the north, these valuable ecosystems are at risk of type-converting to other vegetation types.

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Structure, diversity and health of Sierra Nevada red fir forests with reestablished fire regimes: Research Brief

 Structure, diversity and health of Sierra Nevada red fir forests with reestablished fire regimes: Research Brief

A 2019 study by Meyer and others showed that the reestablishment of natural fire regimes can be highly effective at restoring the structure and understory diversity of red fir forests but have little effect on the health of red fir under increasing moisture stress associated with drought and warming climate.

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Valuing Chaparral: Video

Valuing Chaparral: Video

Do you have any idea just how valuable chaparral is? Most of us don't realize that these often overlooked lands provide essential benefits worth billions of dollars. The four southernmost forests in California actually contain more chaparral shrubland than forest. This animation describes the benefits and values of these often under-appreciated lands.

View on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-8KFNr1c9o

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Extreme Drought Causes Chaparral Type Conversion: Research Brief

Extreme Drought Causes Chaparral Type Conversion: Research Brief

The rugged, chaparral dominated Angeles National Forest (ANF, California) is a beautiful and popular recreation destination. However, it is being damaged by a combination of overwhelming anthropogenic stressors, including climate change-induced mega-droughts, unnaturally shortened fire intervals, very poor air quality (e.g., high levels of nitrogen deposition), and the invasion of non-native groundcover plants.

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Using historical forest density estimates to inform management of contemporary Sierra Nevada forests: Research Brief

 Using historical forest density estimates to inform management of contemporary Sierra Nevada forests: Research Brief

This brief discusses and compares the two methods used to estimate historic tree densities of the Sierra Nevada. The study suggests that density estimates from distance-based estimators support the historical density estimates derived from timber inventories and reconstructions.

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How to Protect Old Trees When Reintroducing Fire: Research Brief

How to Protect Old Trees When Reintroducing Fire: Research Brief

This brief is based on a synthesis that covers recent research documenting effects of introducing fire in fire suppressed forests, provides necessary background information to understand the breadth of the problem, provides realistic management solutions to reduce impacts and defines monitoring techniques to identify treatment effects.

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Evolution and Biogeography of Epicormic Resprouting: Research Brief

Evolution and Biogeography of Epicormic Resprouting: Research Brief

This brief describes the advantages and evolution of postfire epicormic resprouting, where trees resprout from the trunk or stem of trees. This form of resprouting is more rare than resprouting from the base of plants and occurs in Australia and South Africa, as well as in California, the Mediterranean Basin and the Canary Islands in the northern hemisphere.

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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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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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Wildfires Differences among Agencies and Ecoregions in the Sierra Nevada: Research Brief

Wildfires Differences among Agencies and Ecoregions in the Sierra Nevada: Research Brief

A 2012 study by Miller and others suggests that fire management approaches used by the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park could assist in the restoration and maintenance of Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems.

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Why Should Old-growth Chaparral Be Protected? Research Brief

Why Should Old-growth Chaparral Be Protected? Research Brief

Old-growth chaparral systems are biodiversity hotspots that need to be protected for legal, functional, and ethical reasons. This learning module describes these Mediterranean Type Climate systems from a global perspective so that we can better protect them.

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Ecological Correlates With Resprouting and Seeding: Research Brief

Ecological Correlates With Resprouting and Seeding: Research Brief

In northern, southern, coastal, and interior California, examples exist of paired sibling Arctostaphylos subspecies exhibiting two alternate life strategies for surviving disturbance: resprouting and obligate seeding. This is a wonderful opportunity to observe how natural selection might favor one life strategy type over another, particularly in “an era of rapid climate change."

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Understanding the Complex Nature of Resprouting: Research Brief

Understanding the Complex Nature of Resprouting: Research Brief

Resprouting plants are common throughout the world and resprouting is a familiar response to any kind of disturbance that kills living tissue. Resprouting is a seemingly simple trait that has complex underlying morphological and anatomical origins among diverse evolutionary lineages. 

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Evolution of Resprouting and Seeding by Fire: Research Brief

Evolution of Resprouting and Seeding by Fire: Research Brief

Some shrub species are obligate resprouters, some are obligate seeders, and others are facultative seeders, combining both resprouting and postfire seeding to various degrees. How could this diversity in fire response have evolved and how does it coexist?

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Ecosystems of California: Book

Ecosystems of California: Book

This long-anticipated reference and sourcebook for California’s remarkable ecological abundance provides an integrated assessment of each major ecosystem type—its distribution, structure, function, and management. A comprehensive synthesis of our knowledge about this biologically diverse state, Ecosystems of California covers the state from oceans to mountaintops using multiple lenses: past and present, flora and fauna, aquatic and terrestrial, natural and managed.

Link to book website >

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