Natural experiment shows SPLAT fuel treatment efficacy: Research Brief

Natural experiment shows SPLAT fuel treatment efficacy: Research Brief

Strategically placed landscape area fuel treatments (SPLATs) in the Sierra Nevada were put to the test in this study when the American Fire burned through previously treated areas. Both fire effects and initial post-fire conifer regeneration were investigated.

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Spatial predictions of conifer regeneration after wildfire may help managers prioritize reforestation efforts: Research Brief

Spatial predictions of conifer regeneration after wildfire may help managers prioritize reforestation efforts: Research Brief

Recent work by researchers from U.C. Berkeley and the U.S. Forest Service has produced a spatially-explicit predictive model that can be used to forecast where regeneration of (non-serotinous) conifers is most likely to occur after wildfire. This predictive model combines seed availability with climatic, topographic, and burn severity data to forecast the spatial patterns of post-fire conifer regeneration

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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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How can managers consider bumble bees during post-fire management? Research Brief

How can managers consider bumble bees during post-fire management? Research Brief

Bumble bees are important pollinators of native plant species. This brief provides information that can support managers in making nuanced decisions to benefit bumble bees during post-fire management.

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Are historical fire regimes compatible with future climate? Implications for forest restoration: Research Brief

Are historical fire regimes compatible with future climate? Implications for forest restoration: Research Brief

Future climate-induced shifts in fire regimes and plant distributions could uncouple vegetation from the fire regimes for which they are adapted. The brief discusses changes to fire-adapted plant communities under modeled climate change scenarios and their implications on the Kaibab Plateau landscape.

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Maximum Fire Elevation in the Sierra Nevada Has Increased Over the Past Century: Research Brief

Maximum Fire Elevation in the Sierra Nevada Has Increased Over the Past Century: Research Brief

Using a geodatabase, researchers found that the maximum elevation extent of wildfires and the probability of wildfire occurrence above 3000 m have increased over the last century in the Sierra Nevada. This trend may accelerate vegetation shifts towards upper montane forest types in current subalpine systems. 

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Photo courtesy of Sasha Berleman 

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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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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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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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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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