Study shows how California’s largest wildfires have complex effects on forests

From the Univ. of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Link to the research is in the article.

SEFS-led study shows how California’s largest wildfires have complex effects on forests – and present an opportunity for forest management

From the research paper:

Exceptionally large fires (i.e., the top 1% by size) were responsible for 58% and 42% of the cumulative area burned at high and low-moderate severities, respectively, across the study period. With their larger patch sizes, our results suggest that exceptionally large fires coarsen the landscape pattern of California’s forests, reducing their fine-scale heterogeneity which supports much of their biodiversity as well as wildfire and climate resilience. Thus far, most modern post-fire management has focused on restoring forest cover and minimizing ecotype conversion in large, high-severity patches. These large fires, however, have also provided extensive areas of low-moderate severity burns where managers could leverage the wildfire’s initial “treatment” with follow-up fuel reduction treatments to help restore finer-scale forest heterogeneity and fire resilience.

2 thoughts on “Study shows how California’s largest wildfires have complex effects on forests”

  1. Glad people are starting to realize that we can’t view areas in need of prescribed fire and areas “destroyed” by wildfire as two entirely separate systems. We have to integrate the entire spectrum both of them if our objective is a fire resilient system rather than forest liquidation for short-term profit above all other uses.

    As in, after a wildfire the acres in need of treatment to address fire suppression problems should go down, but it never does because industry propaganda for maximizing profits is more important than fire resilient forests and their true agenda is not what benefits the forests, but what benefits eliminating as much forest protection regulation as possible because that’s what boosts profits.

    If the goal is truly to have fire resilient forests over time we need detailed mapping of every acre where a fire burns that creates those benefits and then we need new restrictions to limit disturbance in those areas, which goes against the entirety of the unsustainable industry’s “management objectives,” Which as always Mr. Wilent is dishonestly parroting.

    As in, we still have not left behind the archaic prescription of salvage logging everything, regardless of burn intensity benefits in areas that are more likely to survive future fires because we can make a lot of money in the short term rather than investing in forests that people will benefit from centuries from now if they’re better protected until that time.

    As in, if the means to an end is about creating & maintaining healthy fire resistance forests we can find much to agree on. But if the means to an end is just using the fear of wildfire to eliminate environmental protections to cut down the most fire resistant trees/forests to make a much money as quickly as possible then global deforestation rates will continue to accelerate.

    Sadly the latter, rather than the former is still in the driver’s seat and still the way “management” operates, which means endless lawsuits will continue to be the only way to counter a greedy, vile and dishonest planet destroying industry that cares about nothing more than how much money they make for their shareholders each quarter.

    • Well, you just go right ahead and complain directly to the timber companies, and see where that gets you. The Forest Service does things much more differently than private industry, if you haven’t been paying attention the last 30 years. BTW, how many lawsuits have stopped timber companies from logging on their own lands?!?!?

      (Again, ad nauseum, pointing at private logging practices and claiming that the Forest Service does the same thing is not valid)

      I’d also like to put forth the idea that “complex early seral” is rapidly becoming irrelevant. With large firestorms and re-burns, such landscapes are becoming VERY short-‘lived’. How much “complex early seral” burned again in the Dixie Fire? How much will burn in the next inevitable fire? How many centuries will it take to ‘re-grow’ “complex early seral”? How many will never ‘re-grow’?

      ‘re-grow’ – – – grow new old growth, then burn at least at moderate intensity, producing snag habitats


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