Washington, District of Columbia 2021-08-02 14:17:31 –
August 2, 2021
The extremely hot and dry weather this summer has fueled dozens of wildfires throughout the western United States, spewing smoke all over the country and threatening to register yet another record-breaking year. Eliminating fires for more than a century has created dense forests of excess trees and brushes that quickly ignite and spread under increasingly warm and dry conditions.
Scientists are very much in agreement that it is necessary to reduce these fuels in order to make our forests and surrounding communities more resilient to wildfires and climate change. .. But policies and actions have not caught up with the problem, and even as megafires become more common and destructive, controlling fires remains the norm.
Seeing the urgent need for change, a team of scientists from major western research colleges, conservation groups and government laboratories Integration of scientific literature This underscores the strength of established science and evidence for climate change, wildfires and forest management in seasonally dry forests. The goal is to provide western land managers and others with access to unified resources that summarize the best science available and to make decisions about how to manage landscapes.
“Based on extensive literature reviews and the weight of evidence, the science of adaptive management is powerful and justifies the various time- and research-tested approaches to adapting forests to climate change and wildfires. “Masu,” said the co-author. Susan Pritchard, Research Scientist, Faculty of Environmental and Forestry Sciences, University of Washington.
These approaches include thinning jungles in fire-fighting areas, open burning, reducing fuel on the ground, permitting the burning of wildfires in backcountry environments under favorable fuel and weather conditions, and indigenous fire management practices. Includes activation. NS Survey results Published on August 2nd as a special feature of three papers invited to the journal Ecological Applications.
The author has researched and reviewed more than 1,000 published papers to integrate more than a century of research and observations over a wide geographic area of forests in western North America. The analysis did not include rainforests in the Pacific Northwest or other moist forests where thinning or open burning is not recommended.
“The major changes associated with the elimination of fires over a century have been forest diversity and keystone processes, as well as water quantity and quality, carbon storage stability, air quality, culturally important resources and food security. It puts many other social and ecological values at risk, “said co-author and UW researcher. Keira Hugman..
This ambitious series of articles was inspired by the reality that under current forest and wildfire control, large-scale wildfires and droughts are now the dominant changeors in forests in western North America. There is an urgent need to apply an ecologically and scientifically reliable approach to forest and fire management at a pace and scale that is consistent with the scope of the problem, the authors say.
Part of the solution involves addressing the ongoing turmoil about how to remedy the effects of more than a century of fire elimination as the climate continues to warm. Land managers and policy makers recognize that the number and scale of serious fires is increasing rapidly with climate change, but with an agreement to support climate and wildfire adaptation. Funding is delayed.
To that end, these treatises review the strengths of science on the benefits of adapting fire-excluded forests to rapidly warming climates. The author addresses 10 common questions, such as whether management is needed after a wildfire, or whether fuel processing (thinning, open burning) works in extreme fire weather. They also discuss the need to integrate the science of western fire with the traditional ecological knowledge that has managed the western landscape for thousands of years and the use of indigenous fire.
Climate change brings a lot of uncertainty, but the evidence supporting intentional forest adaptation is strong and broad. The authors clearly show that prolonged uncertainty about the future should not paralyze the actions that can be taken today to adapt forests and communities to warming climates and more fires.
“This collection represents a fusion of scientific voices across disciplines,” said the co-author. Paul Hesberg, A research ecologist at the US Forest Department and a related professor at the University of Washington. “After reviewing the evidence, it is clear that changes in forest conditions and fire regimes throughout the west are important. Future opportunities change rapidly using a variety of available, proven management tools. To adapt the forest to the climate and wildfire regime. “
The co-authors of this special report are from the University of Arizona, British Columbia, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Merced, University of Idaho, University of Montana, University of New Mexico, University of Northern Arizona, and Oregon State University. , Penn State University, Utah State University, US Geological Survey (Northwest Pacific, Southwest Pacific, Rocky Mountain), US Forest, Southwest Pacific, Washington State Natural Resources, California Forest Fire Protection, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, RW Gray Consulting, Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research and Spatial Informatics Group.
The study included the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilderness Society, Oregon Nature Reserve, Northwestern Reserve, Washington State Natural Resources Department, US Forest Department (Pacific Northwest and Pacific Northwest Research Institute), and California Forest. Fire protection station.
New report: State of the science on western wildfires, forests and climate change Source link New report: State of the science on western wildfires, forests and climate change