Webinar Series: Fire Ecology and Forest Resilience in the Pacific NW (3 of 8)

March 21, 2024 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT Location: Virtual

A Webinar Series by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and the Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society

When: Thursdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 noon Pacific Time (US and Canada)
March 7, 2024, through May 2, 2024 (excluding April 25)


The evolving science and practice of ecological silviculture to restore dry forests of the Interior West

Presented by Dr. Derek Churchill, WDNR.   Coauthors Dr. Andrew Larson (University of Montana), Sean Jeronimo (BLM)

Summary: The science and silviculture of stand-level fuel reduction and forest restoration treatments in the interior Western US has evolved considerably over the last three decades. The initial focus on reducing wildfire intensity and severity has expanded to include restoration of a broad suite of ecological functions and processes, as well as resilience and adaptation to a warming climate and related drought, insect, and other stressors. Most recently, the need to integrate treatments with the work of wildfire both before and after fire is further expanding dry forest restoration. Here, we present the most recent principles of ecological silviculture in dry forests and review their evolution over the last three decades. We highlight key research underlying these principles, including results related to (1) historical stand conditions in frequent fire forests in the interior Pacific Northwest, (2) treatment effectiveness at reducing wildfire and drought severity, (3) the role of fine-scale spatial variability in enhancing structural development, wildlife habitat, snow retention, and other functions, and (4) long-term post-fire fuel trajectories. We also review lessons learned, including progress and challenges, from implementation and monitoring of different approaches to operationalizing these principles.

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