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Northwest CASC researchers and partners identify key needs to consider when managing vegetation shifts after wildfires.

As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of wildfires over larger land areas, more landscapes may experience vegetation shifts after fires, for example, forests transforming to grasslands or shrublands. Management decisions about post-fire vegetation can have far-reaching impacts as forests provide vital resources to humans and ecosystems. But how do land managers and stewards deal with shifts vegetation following fires?  


A publication from the Northwest CASC highlights three effective strategies for managing post-fire vegetation change: partnering with Indigenous communities experienced in fire management, creating decision-based science, and improving monitoring efforts.  


First, the paper provides examples of successful collaborations between government, management, and tribal organizations that improve general understanding of fire and ecological dynamics. Second, it discusses how to create decision-based science by bringing managers and scientists together to assess existing knowledge, knowledge gaps, and to make information accessible and useful. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of ongoing monitoring efforts. Agencies and local communities must coordinate to collect and share data needed to identify fire risks and where the landscape is changing, and to evaluate the effectiveness of management actions.  


This NW CASC publication outlines useful examples of the type of data, coordination, and principles that can help inform actionable science investments by managers to support post-fire vegetation shifts in the region.  


The publication was funded by the Northwest CASC Project “NW CASC Deep Dives: Actionable Science Agendas for Emerging Climate Risks” which focuses each year on a different emerging ecological risk. Other products from the “Ecological Transformation Deep Dive” can be found on the NW CASC website. 

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