New Jersey forester Bob Williams passed me a link to this essay by Daniel Botkin and Lisa Micheli.
Now in California, and other parts of the USA, in the wake of catastrophic wildfire, there is an increased openness to the need to actively manage forest resources. One example is the fire mitigation work spear-headed by the Pepperwood Foundation in Sonoma County. Pepperwood had been actively reducing fuels on-site at its 3200-acre research reserve via forest thinning, including removing Douglas Fir trees that invade oak woodlands in the absence of fire, to achieve both ecological benefits and fuels reductions. Their grassland management also actively reduced fires hazards and enhanced ecological function via conservation grazing and prescribed fire, similar to methods advanced by Williams and others decades ago.
Pepperwood has the distinction of being one of the rare sites twice-burned in recent wildfire seasons, including the 2017 Tubbs Fire which burned the entire property and the 2019 Kincade Fire, which thanks to CAL FIRE and first responders, impacted only 60% of the property. In 2017, Pepperwood’s prescribed burn treatment area was the only the only portion of the preserve NOT burned by the uncontrollable Tubbs Fire. In 2019, first responders found that land management on the reserve seemed to help slow the Kincade Fire and thus allow CAL FIRE to secure the fire perimeter, preventing it from spreading into nearby Wildfire Urban Interface communities.
Here’s more on Pepperwood.