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Scientists developed a method for predicting where sagebrush recovery is likely to occur naturally post-wildfire, allowing managers to focus restoration efforts where they are most needed.

Wildfires threaten sagebrush landscapes across a vast expanse of the western United States. Deciding when and where to focus restoration efforts is a major challenge for land managers. Forecasting where sagebrush plants are likely to recover naturally, without management intervention, could help target restoration investments where they are most needed. Researchers developed a novel method for predicting post-wildfire recovery using satellite images of sagebrush cover as a data source. Using information from satellites addresses a common challenge: the need to make restoration decisions quickly after wildfires with minimal site-specific information. In addition, the method allows users to incorporate multiple environmental predictors, including information from local monitoring programs as it becomes available during the first years of post-fire monitoring. This approach improved the accuracy of predictions compared to previous methods. It provides a valuable new tool for understanding post-fire recovery and supports managers involved in restoration decision-making.  


Zaiats, A., Cattau, M.E., Pilliod, D.S., Liu, R., Requena-Mullor, J.M., and Caughlin, T.T., 2023, Forecasting natural regeneration of sagebrush after wildfires using demographic models and spatial matching: Landscape Ecology, Online. 

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