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In the Sierra Nevada most historical stand structure studies have focused on drier pine-dominated forests. This paper helps to fill a gap by contributing information on historical structure in more mesic forests with more moderate amounts of moisture.
View Research Brief PDF >
Research results show that Knobcone pine populations are extremely dynamic, with losses, gains, extirpation and colonization occurring among different populations across its range.
If the fire has characteristics that do not fit the historical fire regime with which the fire-adapted ecosystem has developed, then it may impact resilience and cause a shift in ecosystem characteristics.
The authors show how live fuel moisture content in chaparral shrub species is highly variable. This brief offers new recommendations on how to best use live fuel moisture content as a measure of fire risk.
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.
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.
This study specifically surveyed county emergency managers; the individuals who are responsible for mitigating and responding to disaster events. The results suggest that emergency managers are subject to decision biases and by knowing this, we can improve emergency management and decision-making processes.
Many of California’s research natural areas exhibit high to moderate departure from their natural fire regime. Without restoration or maintenance of the natural fire regime, the ecological integrity of some natural areas could be lost.
Locating forest treatments in the right places can make them as or more effective than treating everywhere, shows new research out by Krofcheck et al. 2018. The authors found that restoring less acres strategically can have the same impacts as treating more area indiscriminately in terms of reducing high severity wildfire risk and carbon instability.
To test the Interval Squeeze Model concept on real, fire sensitive woody species, these authors created a process-based model of a plant population that could be used for any serotinous, fire-killed species.
This brief summarizes qualitative interviews to examine landowner responses to a reforestation program following a devastating wildfire in the central Sierra Nevada.
The impacts of mechanical mastication fuel treatments on chaparral vegetation are discussed in this 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.
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
The objective of this research synthesis was to examine the differences in community level exposures to smoke from both wildfire and prescribed fire.
This paper builds our understand of how the spatial distribution of different ignition sources have varied over time and space.
National guidance is provided for new and updated invasive plant management plans that meet federal standards
The authors use this paper to highlight some challenges and solutions in applying TK and western knowledge (WK) to current approaches of wildland fire, fuels, and natural and cultural resource management.
By mastering the art of prescription burning over thousands of years, native California tribes sustainably maximized chaparral ecosystem services like food, medicine, and building materials.
The authors show a direct connection between a diverse set of drivers and type-converted chaparral in Southern California. Example drivers include high frequency fire, land-use disturbance, moisture availability, and site flatness.
Discussions of successes, struggles, and failures with partner-specific tools are vital to the successful implementation of “translational ecology” a formal term for biological conservation partnerships.
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.
The ecosystems within the South Coast bioregion have accumulated very different sets of modern fire management problems that are vegetation, weather, and location specific.
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
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.
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.
Understanding the relative importance of biological and environmental characteristics conducive to a moderate severity wildfire can help managers predict outcomes to better guide when and where fires can safely be managed.
The WUI is often synonymous with fire risk to buildings, but this research suggests that this is not the case in all fire-prone states. While fire outreach was often present near areas where buildings are destroyed by wildfire, many communities are established after major fires.
To revegetate disturbed desert lands, practitioners often reestablish fertile islands as a first step in restoring native plants and associated fauna on disturbed desert sites. This research brief discusses the pros and cons of this approach considering native and non-native species.
Dr. Biswell's influence on the development of prescribed burning in California was paramount in so many of our actions today. Here’s a throwback to his work, where he leads a prescribed fire and discussion in Southern California in May 1983.