Managing Post-Fire, Climate-Induced Vegetation Transitions

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Detailed Description

Warmer, drier and longer fire seasons in the Northwest have led to larger and more frequent wildfires. These changes in fire activity, combined with warmer and drier post-fire conditions, have in turn led to growing concern that in some areas of the Northwest, particularly in forests and shrublands east of the Cascade Range, existing plant communities may face difficulty regrowing and persisting following fire. Some of these communities may ultimately transition to different vegetation types - for example, from forests or shrublands to grasslands - impacting the ecological, economic and cultural services provided by these ecosystems. In this webinar, Northwest CASC supported researchers will present a review of current knowledge and practice around the emerging climate impact of post-fire vegetation transitions in the Northwest. This synthesis is the result of a working group process that convened natural resource managers and scientists from Northwest Tribes, universities, the non-profit and private sectors, and federal, state and local governments to collaboratively review what is currently known (and unknown) about managing climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions in the Northwest.
 

Details

Date Taken:

Length: 00:46:57

Location Taken: Reston, VA, US

Video Credits

Video edited by Clara Booker, Data Steward (Contractor for the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center)
 

Transcript

Philip Lu: [0:04] Hi, everyone. Welcome remotely from the US Fish and Wildlife Services National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. My name is Philip Lu. I would like to welcome you to our webinar series held in partnership with the US Geological Survey's National Climate Adaptation Science Center.

[0:21] Today's webinar is titled "Managing Post-Fire Climate-Induced Vegetation Transitions." We're excited to have Meade Krosby, Kimberley Davis, and Mary Ann Rozance with us today. To introduce our presenters, we have Laura Thompson from USGS.

Laura Thompson: [0:36] Thank you, Phil. It's my honor to introduce our speakers for today's webinar.

[0:43] Meade Krosby is the University Deputy Director at the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and is a senior scientist with the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group. Dr. Krosby works closely with land and wildlife managers to collaboratively understand and address climate impacts on species and ecosystems.

[1:05] Mary Ann Rozance is the actionable postdoctoral fellow with the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. Dr. Rozance is a social scientist who works closely with grad students, researchers, and managers to support collaborative science and climate adaptation efforts.

[1:24] Kim Davis is a research scientist at the University of Montana in the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding how the combination of changing climate and fire regimes impact coniferous forests of the Western US.

[1:41] Thank you so much for being here today.

Meade Krosby: [1:43] Thank you so much for that introduction. We're going to be switching between speakers here as we go. Mary Ann and Kim and I all helped lead this year's Deep Dive workshop. I'll explain the Deep Dives in a moment, and it's really great to be able to share what we found with you all.

[2:01] The Deep Dives are interactive workshops that are held by the Northwest CASC annually to help address emerging high-impact climate adaptation issues that are aligned with the Northwest CASC, science priorities and our stakeholders.

[2:17] Deep Dives focus on issues where investment and actionable science to understand impact, and the effectiveness of potential management responses could offer a big bang for buck, and adding to what's currently known.

[2:30] Deep Dives [inaudible] by reviewing the current state of knowledge around the issue so that we can better identify key research and capacity needs, with the ultimate goal of completing and supporting an actionable science agenda.

[2:45] That actionable science agenda helps the Northwest CASC and our partners to direct resources toward addressing key gaps and knowledge and practice around an urgent emerging climate risk. The 2020 Deep Dive, the risk that was identified was climate-driven, post-fire vegetation change in the Northwest.

[3:07] As warmer, drier summers are leading to longer fire seasons with larger and more frequent fires, there's concern that certain vegetation types may fail to regenerate under a changing fire regime and climate conditions. They could [indecipherable] instead to new vegetation types.

[3:26] This is something we're already seeing much more in the Southwest and are starting to see in more arid areas of the Northwest.

[3:33] The Deep Dive was an opportunity to convene Northwest science and managers to review the state of the science and practice around this risk to identify research and capacity needs to inform management and then complete and support an actionable science agenda to help us address key gaps in knowledge and practice around this issue.

[3:52] Deep Dives take a co-production approach, which probably most of you are familiar with at this time. It's becoming much more common now to take such an approach. Co-production is the collaborative co-creation of new knowledge by scientists, decision-makers, and other stakeholders, with the intention of making that knowledge usable in practice.

[4:14] In addition to ensuring that by taking a co-production approach, Deep Dives produce information that's useful and used by decision-makers, a co-production approach can also help make sure that we're going to build capacity and communities of practice among those who would convene to do this work together.

[4:31] Usually, we would do this in person. [laughs] In past, the Deep Dive was held in-person. It's a really important opportunity for folks to expand their networks and communities in this work.

[4:43] Our intention last year for the 2020 Deep Dive was to hold a two-day workshop in June in Missoula, Montana, and then COVID hit. We had to quickly pivot and reimagine what a Deep Dive could be in a time when we could not physically be together.

[5:03] We had very different-looking Deep Dive in 2020. We decided that we would stretch the process out so that we could provide opportunity for extended engagement that might more meaningfully facilitate the relationship building that we'd like to see in a Deep Dive.

[5:22] We couldn't, especially at the time when doing all this virtually was very new to us, we couldn't imagine cramming this process into a two-day virtual workshop.

[5:32] Instead, we had a longer, more intermittent, and in short chunks process for engaging folks throughout the year. In the spring, we had a kickoff webinar, followed by a summer of working groups, I'll talk more about those in a minute, to help synthesize the state of the knowledge.

[5:54] We then synthesize that information for a fall workshop where everyone came together again, and then completed our project in the winter and are just now releasing them all. A very different process than we've had in the past.

[6:05] We did convene 109 individuals who participated in at least one of our 2020 Deep Dive activities. We generally aim for about 100. We found that's a pretty good sweet spot in terms of getting all the necessary knowledge and expertise in the room while still allowing folks to get to know each other.

[6:27] We convene a mix of resource management practitioners, scientists, researchers, folks in outreach communication, policy, education, and other areas, other roles. These folks came from a mix of federal government agencies, universities, non-profits, tribes, state agencies, private sector, and others.

[6:51] I will say that because of COVID, our previous Deep Dive, for example on "Wildfire west of the Cascades," was co-hosted by the Tulalip Tribes. We had a fabulous tribal engagement. It was much more difficult because of how hard tribes were impacted by COVID, to get as much tribal engagement as we would have liked this year.

[7:12] We did have some, but I want to make a note that that's very important to us to make sure that we are engaging both Western science and indigenous knowledges and practices in this work. That was more challenging this year than in the past.

[7:27] Again, virtually all participants attended the kickoff webinar and/or the fall workshops, and then a majority also participated in at least one of three working groups that we had going over the summer.

[7:40] These three working groups spent the summer, again, synthesizing the state of the knowledge around climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions in the Northwest, and we tackled it from three angles.

[7:51] We had one working group looking at the state of the biophysical knowledge around post-fire vegetation transitions in the Northwest.

[7:59] They were asking where transition's occurring, in which semi-arid or forest systems, and why. How can existing science inform decisions regarding where to resist direct or accept vegetation shifts, and also what tools exist to make science accessible to managers and support decision making?

[8:18] We also had a working group looking at the state of the practice and managing post-fire vegetation transition in the Northwest. We wanted to know, are northwest managers concerned about transitions? Are they seeing them in their work?

[8:32] What, if anything, are managers doing to prepare for or respond to transitions? What resources are they using to guide their actions and what is the [inaudible] of Northwest managers to use available resources and manage transitions?

[8:46] Then, we also wanted to look at this from the perspective of the state of knowledge around policy and human dimensions related to post-fire vegetation transitions. We wanted to know how do existing policies influence management decisions.

[8:59] What organizations are involved with post-fire vegetation transitions, and how do they interact? Also, how do communities respond to the risk of ecosystems they care about transforming after a fire?

[9:12] We based our synthesis for each of those working groups on several different lines of evidence. We did a literature review. We conducted surveys of Deep Dive participants. We also had discussions through each of our...We had three hour-and-a-half working group meetings throughout the summer, as well as work in between. We also based this off of the discussion that we had during those meetings.

[9:37] Now, I'm going to pass it off to Mary Ann to talk about our key findings from that work. I should say also that we came at it from these three angles, and each of those working groups produced a synthesis.

[9:49] Then, we worked to synthesize that into one single set of key findings for the entire Deep Dive, and that's what Mary Ann's going to tell you about right now.

Mary Ann Rozance: [9:57] Great, thank you. As Meade said, we looked across the working group syntheses that Meade just described, and reconvened the entire Deep Dive effort to collectively identify a series of key findings which I'll describe now.

[10:12] We were aware of this emerging climate risk because it's recognized as happening in the Southwest, but we wanted to document if and where these types of transitions are occurring in the Northwest.

[10:24] Then we identified that yes, these types of vegetation transitions have been reported following fires across the western US and are increasingly being observed in forests and sagebrush ecosystems in the Northwest, especially at lower elevations east of the Cascade Range.

[10:39] To provide a few examples of where this is occurring, parts of the sagebrush ecosystems in eastern Oregon and Washington transition to grasslands often dominated by exotic annual species following repeated fires.

[10:55] These transitions, for example, are more likely in Wyoming big sage than mountain big sage systems, and warm/dry than cold/moist sites, and in areas where other conditions are favorable to annual grasses where there's soil disturbance or a lack of biological soil crust, for example.

[11:14] Also, dominance by annual grass species like cheatgrass following fire can increase fire frequency and thus reduce the likelihood that sagebrush species will re-establish over time.

[11:25] Another example, in addition to sagebrush, failures of post-fire tree regeneration in dry coniferous forests have also been observed in the Northwest. For example, studies of post-fire regeneration in dry coniferous forests in the eastern Cascades, Blue Mountains, and Northern Rockies found that roughly 30 percent of sampled plots contained no conifer regeneration 5 to 20 years post-fire.

[11:51] One of the main drivers of limiting post-fire conifer regeneration in these studies was the lack of a seed source due to high severity fire patches.

[12:02] In addition to documenting these types of vegetation transitions, we wanted to know if managers were concerned and how much of a priority this is for them.

[12:12] We identified that managers across the Northwest are observing transitions and are concerned, but many shared that they face institutional barriers such as the lack of a policy mandate or authority, as well as different types of resource limitations, such as insufficient funding or staffing and organizational capacity, to take management actions and respond to this emerging climate risk.

[12:36] Managers faced different opportunities and barriers to respond to transitions depending on the sector or institution they represented, for example, public versus private. We also found that managers' response to this climate risk may be limited by their capacity to access, interpret, and apply relevant scientific information and tools.

[13:00] We also discussed that there are many different strategies and actions that managers are doing to manage landscape that relate to this topic, not necessarily directly specific to this topic, but managers are taking actions to reduce fire severity, promote post-fire recovery of certain species, reduce annual cheatgrass invasions, as well as other actions.

[13:27] However, these management actions remain largely untested in this particular context of post-fire vegetation transition, but there is evidence that the effectiveness of these management actions to either aid in resisting or helping direct certain types of transitions likely varies on when or where a particular action is taken.

[13:51] For example, pre-fire treatments that may help resist post-fire vegetation transitions include fuel reduction treatments and fire breaks.

[14:00] In particular, in mixed conifer forests, fuel reduction treatments, especially those that include both thinning and prescribed fire, tend to reduce fire severity and tree mortality which may promote recovery of dominant pre-fire tree species.

[14:16] In addition, post-fire treatments may be used to promote recovery to pre-fire species, helping resist a vegetation transition or to species or genotypes more adapted to changing climate conditions, to helping direct a transition.

[14:34] Deep Dive participants identify that we have a lot of work to do to improve collaborations with indigenous communities and centering them in the science and practice. Traditional knowledge has not received adequate recognition or respect from non-tribal entities limiting its meaningful integration into the management of post-fire vegetation transitions.

[14:54] While Western science and management tends to compartmentalize our understanding of the different ecosystem components and processes, several tribal participants in this Deep Dive shared that traditional knowledge holds a holistic view of the relationship between fire, plants, and culture, and is critical for cultural preservation through sustaining culturally important vegetation for medicine, food, materials, and wildlife habitat.

[15:20] Deep Dive participants also pointed to instances where tribes are leading the way on knowledge and management activities for climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions.

[15:29] In the Northwest, we'd identified where traditional knowledge has been shown to increase the effectiveness of fire management and forests with tribal land, support planning on non-tribal land, and contribute to management tool development.

[15:45] In addition, Deep Dive participants emphasize that creating opportunities for scientists, managers, and tribal communities to develop interpersonal relationships and shared experience is essential for developing science and management that respectfully integrates traditional knowledge.

[16:01] These knowledge-sharing relationships are more successful when non-tribal managers and scientists working with indigenous communities educate themselves about indigenous rights and perspectives and take the land's cultural history into account.

[16:17] Deep Dive participants also highlighted that research and tool development need to be co-developed and co-led by tribal communities to preserve traditional knowledge and offer community-based solutions.

[16:29] In this work, we identified over 75 different tools that are not necessarily specifically created for post-fire vegetation transitions but could support management actions.

[16:41] These tools include climate projections, fire observations and predictions, and other landscape data that could be used to support management planning; seed lot selection, and other relevant decisions.

[16:54] We also identified that there are websites that collect subgroups of these tools in one place. However, we found that guidance on which tool to use, when and where to use it, is largely lacking. There's also very little evaluation of the effectiveness of these tools in achieving or informing desired management outcomes.

[17:14] Deep Dive participants stressed the social aspects related to the science and management of post-fire vegetation transitions.

[17:22] This came up in many different ways. At the root, we talked about how determining what type of vegetation transition to manage for, and how to do that, is rooted in different community and cultural values and relationships we have with various landscapes.

[17:37] In addition to biophysical considerations, managing post-fire vegetation transitions is bounded by social barriers and incentives that include diverse values, decision uncertainties, the capacity to act in both formal and informal policies around reforestation and other issues, for example.

[17:58] We have to recognize the non-homogenous landscape with all the different types of landowners, management contexts, and communities.

[18:06] All of these have different perspectives on vegetation and wildfire management that may vary with past disturbance experience, varied levels of communication between communities and resource managers, different knowledge and perceptions of risks, and different values and economic ties to the landscapes.

[18:24] Deep Dive participants recognize all this complexity and the importance of incorporating local community values into management plans as a way to help strengthen management decisions and climate attic to adapt and solutions in different ways.

[18:41] Next slide. Deep Dive participants also highlighted the importance of collaboration. Knowledge sharing, although challenging, has being necessary to manage vegetation transitions at ecologically relevant scales.

[18:57] This was pointed out as being particularly important in regard to tribes, both for local knowledge sharing among tribes and for sharing between tribes and non-tribal entities.

[19:07] In the Northwest managing climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions involves a mosaic of landowners. The collaborations provide the opportunity to incorporate the different viewpoints and diverse knowledge into a collective vision for managing the landscape.

[19:26] Some examples that were pointed out in the process, knowledge-sharing networks, such as the prescribed Fire Exchange Network, Fire Learning Networks, and the Burned Area Learning Network, were examples of efforts to share experiences across agencies and communities that could include management of post-fire vegetation transition.

[19:49] Now I'm going to turn it over to Kim, who's going to talk about how we turned these key findings into an actionable science agenda.

Kimberley Davis: [19:59] Thanks, Mary Ann. Mary Ann presented the key findings that came out of the synthesis. Throughout these synthesis, we identified many gaps in our knowledge, and so we devised a series of research needs that will hopefully address these gaps to advance science space management and climate-driven post-fire vegetation transitions in the Northwest.

[20:22] The first research need is to identify the likelihood and impacts of post-fire vegetation transitions.

[20:28] Specifically, we need to develop models of plausible ecological features, especially at temporal and spatial scales that are relevant to managers to increase our understanding of where and when post-fire transitions are expected to occur and the potential consequences for ecological functioning in ecosystem services.

[20:49] Second, there is a key need to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing post-fire vegetation transitions, especially regarding how effectiveness is defined and measured, and also how it may vary across space and time.

[21:03] There was also interest in developing a better understanding of the trade-offs between average to resist, accept, or direct vegetation transitions, and also to assess the potential strategies for directing post-fire vegetation transition since this is really a new emerging management strategy.

[21:21] We identified a need to support monitoring and information sharing. While monitoring does occur across many agencies, we identified a key need to leverage and expand existing monitoring and information-sharing systems to support identification of transitions and effective management responses to those transitions.

[21:41] As Mary Ann mentioned, we identified many existing decision support tools. A key need that came up was the need to evaluate these tools and identify overlap between these existing tools, evaluate their scientific rigor, ease of use, and appropriateness in different ecological contexts, in addition to assessing if any key tools are missing.

[22:06] There's a need to integrate community knowledge and perspectives related to post-fire vegetation transitions. For example, by conducting research and tool development that integrates local community knowledge and perspectives with management practices and biophysical knowledge.

[22:22] Because of the complexity of this issue, which Mary Ann touched on a bit, we need to develop a better understanding of managers' decision-making context, including the policies, institutions, and social and ecological factors that influence management decisions around climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions.

[22:45] There's also a key need to co-develop tools, protocols, and research with tribal communities that integrates traditional knowledge in managing climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions. For example, by supporting tribal communities leading such efforts while addressing the needs of Indigenous communities and supporting tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

[23:06] Finally, there is a need to identify opportunities and resources to support collaborative efforts. For example, this could involve conducting studies on collaborative efforts to manage climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions especially with tribal and indigenous entities.

[23:22] Those were the key research needs that we saw, but we also identified a variety of capacity-building needs.

[23:30] The first need is an overall need to provide training, guidance, and knowledge sharing for managers, which would include providing training opportunities around emerging and established science, and organizing and providing guidance on how and when to use the many existing online decision support and data gathering tools.

[23:48] There is also interest in creating platforms for knowledge sharing among managers, including across entities and geographies.

[23:56] Overall, there needs to be better communication about this topic with broad audiences. For example, we found that there is a need to provide training to both scientists and managers on effective communication and community engagement.

[24:10] We identified a clear need to elevate experience and expertise of tribal nations. For example, by supporting opportunities for sharing relevant knowledge and practices used by tribal nations with other tribes, local and federal governments, and the public.

[24:24] Finally, there's an overall need for expanding opportunities for effective knowledge exchange and learning within Northwest communities and tribal nations to better incorporate diverse values, cultures, and knowledges into practices and policies for managing post-fire vegetation transitions.

[24:44] With that, I'll pass it back to Meade to talk a little bit about products that came out of the Deep Dive.

Meade: [24:50] Thank you, Kim. One of the hallmarks of co-production is that it rarely results in just a peer-reviewed paper. It could be peer-reviewed papers, but also a series of boundary objects. These are products that have been formed at the boundary of science and practice and incorporate knowledge from both.

[25:13] Deep Dives often have a suite of products that come out of it. In this case, we have a summary report that is fairly concise and user-friendly. This is not a super technical document. It's not intended to be.

[25:27] It summarizes everything that we just described to you. The key findings, that actionable science agenda, identifying key research needs and capacity-building needs. Then, if you want to take a deeper dive into the Deep Dive, you can look at the working group synthesis.

[25:44] The three different syntheses that go into the biophysical knowledge, state of the practice, and the policy and human dimensions. Those are a little bit longer into what each of those found, and then have some supporting documents. There's links to the survey results, for example, and other resources that we used for the syntheses.

[26:08] If you want the super light version, we have a one-page fact sheet that provides the punch line from all of this. What are the key findings and key needs from this work? We identified a couple of low-hanging fruit that could help address some of the needs expressed that we already had done a lot of the work on from the Deep Dive itself.

[26:31] For example, we produced a vegetation transitions case study mapping tool, and Kim is going to demo that for you in a second, as well as develop the tools database. Since we did that research anyway, we wanted to make it accessible to folks. Those are also available now.

[26:48] All of this is now up on our Deep Dive website. On the Northwest CASC website, we have a page for the Deep Dives, and then each Deep Dive has its own page. All of this stuff is there and freely available.

[27:01] Now, I'm going to pass it back to Kim who's going to show you some of the tools that we have available now on the site.

Kimberley: [27:08] Thanks, Meade. Yes, this is the page that Meade was talking about, and on this page, you'll find a link to that interactive map of all these studies. This is something that came out of the biophysical working group, but then we use some of the resources from other working groups as well.

[27:32] We had this idea of we have all these great case studies. Maybe we could put them on a map, and then we'd better be able to visualize where we're missing research or what type of research we're missing.

[27:42] Drew Lyons, who was a Northwest CASC fellow and one of the fellows helping with the biophysical group, he put this whole tool together. He read all these papers, hundreds of papers. This was a big effort by Drew that he continued working on after the Deep Dive process was over this fall. This is what he's been doing this winter, and it's pretty amazing.

[28:05] What we have here is a map, and each one of these points is a study. These are either in the peer-reviewed literature or grey literature, case studies of anything that relates to post-fire vegetation transitions.

[28:22] Down below this map, we have a table, and this has all of the points that are on the map at any given time. It has the title of the study. You can see different types of information about the study. What Drew did, which is amazing, is he wrote a short summary of every single one of these studies.

[28:41] It is to provide a quick summary for people who don't have the ability to access some of these papers which are behind paywalls, or for people who don't have the time to read these papers. They can come here and just read a couple of sentences, get the main key points from these papers.

[28:57] He also put in this little search bar. Say, you're interested in cheatgrass, you can type cheatgrass. You'll see the number of studies change. You can see just the studies that focus on something to do with cheatgrass, and then you can export this table.

[29:13] You can download this table, have it on your computer with all these summaries of the different studies, and then there's also links if you want to go to the actual paper and read more.

[29:23] This is a really amazing tool. What happens when you click on one of these points is that you'll get some more information popping up on the map, and then this table down here will only show the study that you've selected.

[29:36] Drew has brought in spatial information. If the studies happen at multiple sites, all those sites will be highlighted. In this case, these studies happen in a series of fires so he's put the fire perimeters on here.

[29:50] There's other studies that have occurred over a broader spatial region, and so he put different polygons to represent those studies. In this case, it's the National Forest where these studies occurred. In other studies, it might be the National Park or the ecoregion that's represented by that study.

[30:12] The other key feature of this map tool which is great is this filtering over here. You can select which ecoregion you're interested in. You can select which habitat. For example, if you are interested in forested sites, you can get even more specific with the type of vegetation you're interested in.

[30:31] There's some information about the fires that this study examined. Then, especially relevant to this topic is if the authors of the study identified that potentially a post-fire transition was occurring, he's filtered them in that way. This wasn't any analysis that Drew did, but this was based on what the study authors stated.

[30:56] What we hope will be especially helpful for managers is down here, you can choose what type of study, whether it's a management case study, a post-fire vegetation survey. If you choose a management case study, then there's all these different management actions that you can select.

[31:12] Say, for example, you're interested in doing a fuels treatment and you want to know how well it's worked in your region, you can see these are all the studies that relate to fuels treatments. You could download this information or you could zoom into your specific region and look at the results of those studies.

[31:31] This is a really great tool that Drew's developed that we hope will be helpful.

[31:36] Then, the other thing that came out of the Deep Dive was this tools database. This database also was something that we talked about in the biophysical working group that one of the Northwest CASC fellows put together.

[31:48] This was done mainly by Caroline Walls. She spent a lot of time over the summer going to different websites and trying to find all the possible tools that might relate to managing post-fire vegetation transitions.

[32:00] This is kind of a rough beginning of a database. She's listed all the tools, but it's not quite so shiny as that map was. Hopefully, it will also be helpful. Also, what it does is highlight the need for better guidance on when and how to use all these different tools.

[32:20] She has organized these tools into these main different topics, and each within this, it's a Google spreadsheet. There's a tab at the bottom and you can go to the different topics.

[32:33] Within each one of these tabs, there's the website where you can find that tool, the title, a brief overview of the topic, and then more detailed information that's largely drawn from the description of the tool on the website.

[32:46] For example, for climate projections, there's different websites where you can download your own climate data. There are websites where you can use a visualization. You can look at climate data on a map zoomed into your specific area for the future.

[33:01] There are different types of climate data. There's tools that relate to mainly choosing different seeds or seed lots and transferring native plants based on both current and future climate conditions.

[33:16] There are a lot of tools that relate to fire predictions. In a couple of different ways, there's data from LANDFIRE, for example. That's spatial data that you can download that shows fuels data or historic fire regimes, and then there's also tools where you can input your own fuels data to try to predict fire effects or fire behavior.

[33:35] There's a variety of tools that try to predict wildfire risk, either to communities or given current weather conditions. There's a few different data sources where you can get information on both current fires that are burning, like InciWeb, for example, or areas where you can go to download historic fire perimeters and historic fire severity data.

[34:00] There's the landscape and biome group, and this is a broad group. Basically, it's a combination of spatial data like cheatgrass cover or vegetation cover of different types, soils data, that type of background information that might be helpful when managing.

[34:21] There are also tools more specific to management that try to help prioritize different management actions or our different types of planning tools. Those are the many different types of tools that we've identified and hopefully, they'll be helpful for somebody.

[34:43] Now, I'm going to hand it back to Meade again.

Meade: [34:47] Thanks, Kim. All right. In addition to already trying to meet some of those low-hanging fruit needs through those two tools, we're doing a bunch of other things to support the actionable science agenda.

[35:00] Again, the whole point of this is to, in addition to build capacity and communities of practice and summarize what we know, we're trying to have this actionable science agenda direct the resources to filling those gaps that we identified.

[35:12] A few things that are happening right now, we have a RFP out on the USGS side of the Northwest CASC. That includes, as a priority, research around post-fire ecological transformation. Statements of Interest are due March 19th. Still time to squeak one in there if you are unaware of this opportunity.

[35:35] We also have a call out right now for our Northwest CASC research fellows. This is a program run by the Northwest cast to provide research funding to graduate students and postdocs in the Northwest who are doing work that's aligned with the Northwest CASC science priorities.

[35:55] We also provide training to those fellows in how to do this science, so how to do science collaboratively with decision-makers to make it useful and used.

[36:05] This year for our call out to for Northwest CASC fellow applications, we also identified as a priority for research this year, proposals that we'll be addressing post-fire ecological transformation. That's another way we'll be directing some resources to this.

[36:22] We also have a postdoc position that is open right now. We're just beginning reviews. Again, if anyone's on the call who's interested in this work and is looking for a postdoc, shoot me an email. It's not too late.

[36:36] This will be co-advised by Solomon Dobrowski at University of Montana and based there, but also co-mentoring with myself and Amy Snover at the Northwest CASC and the Climate Impacts Group.

[36:51] This postdoc is intended to do research, again, supporting this actionable science agenda and addressing post-fire ecological transformation. It's a two-year postdoc and part of a national cohort with the Climate Adaptation Science Centers.

[37:08] The Northwest CASC also provides a series of webinar offerings throughout the year. We do series of webinars quarterly, typically, that either address a priority research area for the CASC or offer skills building around doing co-production.

[37:26] Our spring webinar series is going to be on traditional fire, co-led by and amplifying the voices of scientists and traditional knowledge holders around traditional fire in the Northwest to help meet that need for centering tribal knowledge, expertise, approaches in this work. Keep an eye out. We haven't announced that series yet, but it'll be coming up. Keep an eye out for that.

[37:54] Then, also, we'll have some publications, at least one, hopefully several, coming out of this work. Even the deeper dives into the Deep Dive reports just scratch the surface of the amount of work that went into this. We want to make sure that we're getting all of that out into the world, so that's coming up.

[38:13] I want to acknowledge that this was in addition to the many, over a hundred participants in the Deep Dive who were so generous with their knowledge and enthusiasm in doing this work over a difficult year. The participation was extraordinary given what a hard year this has been for everybody.

[38:33] We also had a wonderful Deep Dive Organizing Committee. Our fabulous facilitator, Sonia Hall, I can't recommend enough her co-production processes to have a neutral third-party facilitator who's very skilled at doing this kind of work, and Sonia is.

[38:47] We had research assistants, past Northwest CASC fellows, we had multiple cohorts now of CASC fellows who've been trained to do this kind of work in their graduate work and postdocs. This was an additional opportunity to put that training to work in supporting the Deep Dive.

[39:05] They were amazing. They built those tools. They were key in doing all the work for these syntheses. Also, I'm very grateful to our Deep Dive Advisory Committee for helping achieve this.

[39:15] Last, but not the least, we're now gearing up for our next Deep Dive 2021, very different direction, no fire at this time, although it's not [indecipherable] . It's irrelevant. This one is based on the umbrella of aquatic flows.

[39:27] I'm still narrowing in on exactly the theme this year, likely something around stream permanence in the northwest in a changing climate. Again, looking for that sweet spot of an emerging risk that could use a shot of investment to help improve our knowledge to inform management.

[39:45] That's it. Thank you all so much. It was a real pleasure to share both the process and the outcomes with you of this work. We hope that this will be useful for folks in their decision making. We're excited that all of the things that we presented there are now available on the Northwest CASC website.

[40:04] Please take a look if any of these could be useful to you. Now, we have plenty of time for questions for any one of the three of us. Thank you.

Philip: [40:12] Thank you, everyone who presented. We're moving on to Q&A. Please feel free to ask your questions on the bottom right-hand corner. I imagine all of our esteemed panelists would be happy to answer them.

[40:28] I guess I can start with a question. You mentioned the work that's being done on the interactive maps. I thought I'd be interested hearing more on what your perception as to the future of these.

Meade: [40:42] Of the two tools that we showed generally?

Philip: [40:44] Yes.

Meade: [40:45] Right now, on the CASC, we did a little extra investment into that mapping tool. Again, I can't get over the Northwest CASC fellows. They went up beyond. I wasn't expecting to see these [laughs] prototype tools come out of this effort.

[41:02] When we did see how promising they were, we provided a small contract to Drew Lyons to work over the summer to refine it and get it ready for sharing, and he did an amazing job.

[41:16] We don't have any plans right now for additional investments in either of those, but I would say again, they're really useful and they filled a big need because a lot of what we heard from managers was that there isn't anywhere to share what folks are seeing, what they've been doing.

[41:39] Has it been successful? How do you easily find information about this? The mapping tool is such an easy way to take a first shot at that.

[41:45] I would say that if folks have suggestions, if they see a need or somewhere where some additional investment could make a big difference in any one of these tools, just get in touch. We can talk about whether that's something that we can invest in additionally, but there's no plan right now for any additional work on those two tools in particular.

[42:08] We have RFPs open right now, so who knows what people will propose, but for now, that's all we have planned.

Mary Ann: [42:17] There's a question from Jeremy [indecipherable] who I might talk with about bringing this to an upcoming training conference at the Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

[42:29] Should Jeremy follow up with us? Yeah, you can follow up with us so we can get a better idea of what part of the presentation to do.

Meade: [42:39] I also didn't mention this, but if any of you are familiar with the Northwest Climate Conference, which is also a great size for meeting folks and hearing about a lot of what's going on in the Northwest, even though it'll be virtual this year.

[42:52] We have a special session on the Deep Dive at the Northwest Climate Conference where you'll get to hear more in-depth on each of the key topics and findings that we went over today. If folks want to hear more and you're going to the Northwest Climate Conference, keep an eye out for our session.

Philip: [43:12] It looks like John B. has a question. He says the mapping tool is fantastic. He was also impressed with the tool database. He was wondering if you consider creating a website toolbox where that info can be maintained and advanced in the future?

Meade: [43:26] That is a great idea. We don't have a plan for that now, but again, I would say, if folks are out there who are enthusiastic about this and want to talk about what could be your big grand vision for it and how it could be done, get in touch.

[43:45] We don't have a plan to create a larger toolbox right now. It doesn't mean that our postdoc who's coming on, the fire postdoc, won't have an interest in that. At this moment, we don't have a plan for any more detailed toolbox.

[43:58] Kim, I don't know if you guys have been talking more at Montana about this?

Kimberley: [44:03] We don't have any specific plans, but this is something that the biophysical group talked a lot about, some of the challenges with that type of thing and who would maintain it. They're having conversations about it, but we don't have any plans currently.

Philip: [44:21] Well, I wanted to thank the panelists again for giving us a great presentation about the topic. Round of applause again for our panelists.

Meade: [44:31] Thanks, everyone.

Kimberley: [44:32] There is one more question. [indecipherable] asked if we identify any success stories in managers effectively mobilizing science and implementing on-the-ground actions to meet the resist, accept, direct objectives.

[44:45] I would say I'll let Meade answer this as well because she was leading the practice group, but from the biophysical side, we didn't have many...I can't think of a good example of people specifically using the RAD framework.

[45:03] That was something that came up that people in our group, who were mostly researchers, were interested in. We tried to organize some of our information around that framework in the hopes that maybe it's something that could be implemented more in the future, but I didn't come across any managers who were already using that framework.

[45:22] Not to say that they weren't doing some of those. There are definitely people who are doing that, resisting change or directing change, but just not using that terminology.

Meade: [45:33] I would agree with that. In general, what we mostly came away with is that many folks, again, were taking actions that would generally be expected to help resist or direct, but often that was not the intention or they definitely would not have been using those words to say what they were doing.

[45:57] A lot of those were just traditional forest management actions and fire management actions that would help [indecipherable] to resist. That's not necessarily why they were doing it. Even thinking about folks who might be doing direct, for example, they might not have been saying that either.

[46:19] I might point to the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest, who at least are in their management plan -- I don't know if it was exactly which management plan -- they definitely have a very progressive management plan that does account for planting species for drier, hotter future conditions. Again, I'm not sure if they even were calling that directing.

Philip: [46:44] Thanks for that, Todd. Any more questions? Excellent. Thank you, everyone.

Meade: [46:49] Thank you.

Kimberley: [46:50] Thank you.

[46:50] [silence]