- Editor: Sophie Kolding
- Contributor: Max Moritz
Although wildland fires are a natural part of forest ecosystems, they can interefere with the planning of land-management activities and may have an array of anthropogenic factors. The article, Spatial variability in wildfire probability across the western United States from the International Journal of Wildland Fire, uses fire obsertvations to produce detailed estimates of wildfire probability, of both natural and anthropogenic factors. The International Journal of Wildland Fire publishes papers that advance basic and applied research concerning wildland fire. The Journal wishes to attract papers on a broad range of wildland fire issues that may include subjects beyond the range of papers published in recent issues. The Journal has an international perspective, since wildland fire plays a major social, economic and ecological role around the globe. The authors of the article, Spatial variability in wildfire probability across the western United States, include Marc-Andre Parisien, Susan Snetsinger, Jonathan A. Greenberg, Cara R. Nelson, Tania Schoennagel, Solomon Z. Dobrowski and Max Moritz.
Here is the article's abstract, along with figures and their descriptions:
'Despite growing knowledge of fire-environment linkages in the western USA, obtaining reliable estimates of relative wildfire likelihood remains a work in progress. The purpose of this study is to use updated fire observations during a 25-year period and a wide array of environmental variables in a statistical framework to produce high-resolution estimates of wildfire probability. Using the MaxEnt modeling technique, point-source fire observations that were sampled from area burned during the 1984-2008 time period were related to explanatory variables representing ignitions, flammable vegetation (i.e. fuels), climate and topography. Model results were used to produce spatially explicit predictions of wildfire probability. To assess the effect of humans on the spatial patterns of wildfire likelihood, we built an alternative model that excluded all variables having a strong anthropogenic imprint. Results showed that wildfire probability in the western USA is far from uniform, with different areas responding to different environmental drivers. The effect of anthropogenic factors on wildfire probability varied by region but, on the whole, humans appear to inhibit fire activity in the western USA. Our results not only provide what appear to be robust predictions of wildfire likelihood, but also enhance understanding of long-term controls on wildfire activity. In addition, our wildfire probability maps provide better information for strategic planning of land-management activities, especially where fire regime knowledge is sparse.'
Figure 1. The study area showing the 11 western USA states, elevation, road density (computed using a 1000-hacircular window), mean annual precipitation, mean annual temperature and land cover that was generalized from the National Gap Analysis.
Figure 2. Mean predicted wildfire probability (based on 25 model replicates) for the Full model (a); the Non-anthropogenic model (b); the absolute change (c); and the relative change (d) from the Full model to the Non-anthropogenic model, whereby green indicates an increase and blue represents a decrease in wildfire probability as a result of human-influenced variables.
To view the entire article, please visit the website:
- Author: Richard B. Standiford
- Author: Jaime Adler
The Coast Redwood Forests in a Changing California Science Symposium was held June 21-23, 2011 at UC Santa Cruz with just under 300 registrants in attendance. Participants ranged in background from graduate level students to university forestry faculty, land managers, and conservation groups, public agencies, and land trust members. The symposium was strategically held in Santa Cruz, near the Southern end of the redwood region. Designed to present the state of our knowledge about California’s coast redwood forest ecosystems and sustainable management practices, this symposium was built on earlier redwood science symposia held in Arcata, CA in June, 1996 and in Santa Rosa, CA in March, 2004.
Seed funding for the Symposium was from the University of California/California State University competitive grant program. Rick Standiford of UC Berkeley, Doug Piirto of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and John Stuart of Humboldt State Univeristy served as the three co-chairs of the symposium.
Link to Proceedings
The Proceedings were produced as a General Technical Report of the USDA Forest Service It is available on-line as well as a limited number of printed copies from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station. The entire Proceedings or individual papers can be downloaded by clicking HERE. The full citation for the Proceedings is:
Standiford, Richard B.; Weller, Theodore J.; Piirto, Douglas D.; Stuart, John D, technical coordinators. 2012. Proceedings of coast redwood forests in a changing California: A symposium for scientists and managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-238. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 626 p.
Field Tour Information
The first day of the symposium consisted of two simultaneous field tours, one to the North County and one to the South County. The North County tour focused on active redwood timber management on corporate ownerships operating under the unique policies that dictate decision making on the central coast, and Cal-Poly’s forest management and research at its Swanton Pacific Ranch. It also included, a brief tour of the Big Creek Lumber Company sawmill and a visit to areas burned in the more than 7,000 acre Lockheed Fire of 2009. The South County tour traversed the range of redwood forest conditions from the old growth of Henry Cowell State Park and the uncut 120 year old young growth of Nisene Marks State Park to uneven-aged young growth stands established by individual tree selection harvesting on non-industrial forestlands.
Opening remarks started the second day of the symposium and began the academic concurrent sessions. Local historian Sandy Lydon spoke about the special history of the redwoods in the region, recounting stories from his boyhood about roaming through the forests and giving a brief synopsis of the settlement of the area. Steve Sillett, Humboldt State University forestry professor, described his experiences climbing the redwoods and his discoveries in the redwood forest canopy ecosystems, as well as his findings on tree growth from dendrochronology measurements. Ruskin Hartley, Executive Director and Secretary of Save the Redwoods League, called on the audience to set “audacious goals and collaborative actions.” He maintained that nature does not develop boundaries and that in moving forward, we should focus on a shared set of goals and that public and private land should progress simultaneously. Concluding the session, Ron Jarvis, Home Depot’s VP of sustainability talked candidly about the role of environmental sustainability practices and policies as part of the home improvement retailer’s business model. He noted that when he began in the sustainability department he undertook a two year long project to understand where every sliver of wood from over 9,000 products originated to ensure sustainable wood practices.
Over 75 concurrent oral presentations were showcased over two days, pertaining to the topics of: Ecology (15 presentations); Silviculture and Restoration (11 presentations); Watershed and Physical Processes (22 presentations); Wildlife, Fisheries, Aquatic Ecology (10 presentations); Forest Health (10 presentations); Economics and Policy (6 presentations); Monitoring (7 presentations). In addition, almost 40 posters were displayed during the evening reception, ranging in topic from post-fire response, to long-term watershed research, and community forestry models. Held outside on the warm Santa Cruz evening, participants enjoyed a strolling dinner and networking with colleagues, making the reception a highlight of the symposium.
Conclusions and Summary
The symposium concluded with closing remarks about the future of research in the redwood region from John Helms, UC Berkeley and Mike Liquori, Sound Watershed. In addition, a panel including Dan Porter, the Nature Conservancy, Lowell Diller, Green Diamond, and Kevin O’Hara, UC Berkeley discussed the interface of research, management, and conservation. The overall discussion led to the conclusion that academic research and applied research should be made available to the field as a whole as findings progress and that more opportunities for networking and interactions should be made available to the forestry community.
Overall, the symposium fulfilled its purpose to identify key knowledge gaps, bring together multi-disciplinary teams, and help identify future opportunities for collaboration. Participants were pleased with the presenters and research shown. Many noted that a highlight of the symposium was being able to meet and interact with others whose works they had previously cited in their own research. Of the approximately one half of participants who completed the follow-up survey, 100% hoped to see more events like the 2011 Redwood Symposium.
- Author: Susie Kocher
- Author: Kim Ingram
- Editor: Sophie Kolding
The 2004 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment that guides the management of the national forests in the Sierra has been ripe with controversy since its inception. Disagreements over harvesting plan details, the effectiveness of SPLAT fuels treatments and their effects on wildlife and water issues led to the formation of the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP) as a way to address these controversies and learn from the best available science. The US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service and California Resource agencies contracted with the University of California to be an independent, neutral third party to research key management issues, develop a multi-party adaptive management program that builds on new research and to increase public participation in all aspects of the project. UC scientists are working in five areas: Fire & Forest Ecosystem Health, Water Quality & Quantity, Wildlife (CA Spotted Owl and Pacific Fisher), Spatial, and Public Participation. These teams are conducting scientific research in an open and transparent manner to measure physical and natural processes at relevant management scales, all the while integrating competing public interests, identifying conflicting outcomes and building public trust. The overall goal of this seven year project is to provide the Forest Service and resource agencies with quality information derived from deliberate experimentation that can be used to improve future management decisions and reduce conflict.
SNAMP has two study sites, Last Chance in the northern Sierra and Sugar Pine in the southern Sierra. These sites were selected because they represent the major bio-geographical features of the Sierra Nevada. They have mixed conifer forests with suitable control and treatment watersheds and old forest habitat for species at risk. They are also large enough to support fireshed scale research and active planning by local Forest Service districts for fuels management projects. Two to four years of pre-treatment data has been collected by the UC teams prior to the start of fuels reduction treatments (including thinning, mastication and prescribed fire) that began during summer 2011. Treatments are scheduled for completion by late 2012.
Logs being sorted at the Last Chance thinning project near Foresthill, CA, September 2012.
Photo by Shufei Lei
Analysis of pre-treatment data has led to some initial findings from the various UC science teams. The Forest Team collected data on tree size and species, as well as fuel loading in the study area, then modeled how fire behavior would be affected both before and after the treatment. They predict that both treatments will be effective at moderating wildfire behavior. They also analyzed hundreds of tree core samples and compared growth patterns between live and dead trees. Initial evidence suggests that thinning can improve tree growth even under adverse environmental conditions such as drought.
Dr. John Battles, UC Berkeley forest ecologists shows a SNAMP participant how to read a tree ring core.
Photo by Susie Kocher
The fisher team has used radio collars to track the movements and dispersal of over 66 Pacific fishers in the Sugar Pine area. By retrieving fisher carcasses, the team, in conjunction with UC Davis scientists, has identified the top four causes of fisher mortality in the study site: predation from bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes, disease, rodenticide and road kill. They are currently developing measures of the population dynamics for the species, including reproduction and survival as well as locations of fisher source and sink areas in the study area.
The CA Spotted Owl Team has identified 75 owls in 48 territories within the SNAMP study area. Using data from monitoring territory occupancy and reproductive success of the owls, initial findings suggest that the owl population is in an overall decline. The team is conducting a retrospective analysis on the history of land use and vegetation looking at all observable changes in owl habitat due to disturbance to identify potential causes of decline.
With meteorological and hydrological instruments, the Water Team records and collects data on a daily basis. This data is fed into computer models to produce potential trends in stream discharge and sediment loading or snow accumulation and snowmelt rates. Using different parameters, such as a reduction in leaf area index (LAI), the team is modeling effects of fuels treatments on stream flows and evapo-transpiration rates.
UC Merced graduate student Sarah Martin explaining water team field equipment.
Remote sensing of both study areas was done using Lidar (light detecting and ranging). This data has allowed the Spatial Team to produce many two and three dimensional maps and other products for use by the science teams. Examples include bare earth, slope, aspect and elevation maps; canopy cover and LAI maps; as well as providing information incorporated into fire behavior models. The team has developed methods to detect individual trees from a lidar data point cloud and has used this data to characterize habitat structure for the wildlife teams.
Digital elevation model and vegetation layers Visualization of forest structure developed by the SNAMP
developed by the UC Spatial Team Spatial Team using Lidar data
The role of the Public Participation team is to promote SNAMP through strategic facilitation and outreach and to support the progress of adaptive management. The team reaches many diverse participants through meetings, field trips and workshops; presentations to community leaders and groups; submissions to blogs, industry publications and other media outlets; and the SNAMP website. Current work includes papers on perceptions of forest health, social network analysis and lessons learned through outreach.
SNAMP participants in September 2011 on a field trip to see progress in implementation
of the Last Chance Project near Foresthill. Photo by Shufei Lei.
Funding difficulties affected the scope of the project in 2011. However, the majority of funding has been restored and the project will be completed with a few changes to the original scope of work.
Data collection by these teams will continue for a year after the fuels treatments are complete in order to characterize the effects of the treatments on forest health, fire, water, and wildlife. There will be a final report to agency partners and the public in 2014. For more information, please see the SNAMP website http://snamp.cnr.berkeley.edu/.
- Posted By: Sophie Kolding
- Written by: Sophie Kolding
The journal California Agriculture offers peer-reviewed research and news in agricultural, natural and human resources. Private land owners are able to share their views on rangeland and forest resources. One of the articles in the October-December 2011 issue, Forest and rangeland owners value land for natural amenities and as financial investment, discusses the recent shift away from “production-oriented ownership” of privately owned land, as only a small percentage of landowners earned income from their land. Here is a snippet of the article’s extended abstract:
“Forty-two percent of California's forests and rangelands are privately owned (34 million acres). These lands provide important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, pollination and wildlife habitat, but little is known about the people who own and manage them. We surveyed forest and rangeland owners in California and found that these long-time landowners value their properties for their natural amenities and as a financial investment. Owners of large properties (500 or more acres) were significantly more likely to use their land for income production than owners of smaller properties, and they were also more likely to carry out or be interested in environmental improvements. Many forest and rangeland owners reported they had been previously approached to sell their land for development. Only about one-third had participated in conservation programs; few had conservation easements.”
The survey discussed in the article can ultimately aid in land-owning outreach efforts, and the economic policies, programs and financial incentives for rangeland owners.
To read the full articles and to learn more, CLICK HERE.
Forest and rangeland owners value land for natural amenities and as financial investment
by Shasta Ferranto, Lynn Huntsinger, Christy Getz, Gary Nakamura, William Stewart,
Sabrina Drill, Yana Valachovic, Michael DeLasaux, Maggi Kelly. pp184-191,
- Posted By: Sophie Kolding
- Written by: Sophie Kolding
The Fritz-Metcalf Photograph Collection is a collection of about 9,000 photographs relating primarily to forestry, conservation, and the lumber industry in California and the United States. Subjects of the photographs include reforestation, forest research, logging operations, logging equipment, and the activities of the University of California's School of Forestry. The photographs were taken from 1906 to 1984, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1910 and 1960. The photographs were taken by Emanuel Fritz, Woodbridge Metcalf, and others.
Emanuel Fritz and Woodbridge Metcalf were both faculty members of the School of Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley. Emanuel Fritz (1886-1988) taught forestry at the University of California from 1919 to 1954. Professor Fritz was forester for the California Redwood Association, consultant to the California Legislative Interim Committee (1943-45), editor-in-chief of the Journal of Forestry (1930-32), founder of the Redwood Region Logging Conference, and councilor of the Save-the-Redwoods League. In 1955 he received the Western Forestry and Conservation Association award for distinguished achievement in forestry. Woodbridge Metcalf (1888-1972) was on the faculty of the School of Forestry from 1914 until 1956. He was Extension Forester from 1926 to 1957. During these 43 years, Professor Metcalf was also involved in 4-H Clubs, cork oak utilization, and Christmas tree and eucalyptus plantations. He served as president of the California Conservation Council and received the Nash Merit Award Certificate for his dedicated work in conservation in 1954.
1920 - Prof. Metcalf, Tissot, Prof. Fritz, Prof. Bruce, Gerhardy, on trip to Inverness.
September 1953 - Metcalf and exhibits used in forestry demonstration at 33rd annual 4-H Club Convention, Davis campus, University of California. "How Forest Trees Grow."
The healing of wounds on a Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) on the Chico Forestry Station.
July 16, 1939 - Sugar pine, 36 inch diameter at breast height near new Camp Califorest office. Emanuel Fritz.
To find more info on Fritz and Metcalf and the archive of photos, visit the original website:
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BIOS/fmpc/index.html or CLICK HERE.
"All information and images from the Fritz-Metcalf Photograph Collection shown on this site are courtesy of the Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, University of California, Berkeley, www.lib.berkeley.edu/BIOS/”