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Forests

Climate change is causing an increase in the amount of forested area burned by wildfires. When coupled with more intense droughts, these dry post-fire conditions may limit tree regeneration in some areas, potentially causing a shift to non-forest vegetation. Explore our science on forests below to learn about how CASC scientists are working to conserve our forests.

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Climate Impact Summaries for Rare-Plant Biodiversity in the Southeastern U.S.

The southeastern U.S. is home to many rare plant species, some at risk of extinction. A new national list has identified the top plant “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” (SGCN) across the region which can help southeastern states update their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) to include plants for the first time. In partnership with the Southeast Plant Conservation Alliance, NatureServe, a
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Climate Impact Summaries for Rare-Plant Biodiversity in the Southeastern U.S.

The southeastern U.S. is home to many rare plant species, some at risk of extinction. A new national list has identified the top plant “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” (SGCN) across the region which can help southeastern states update their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) to include plants for the first time. In partnership with the Southeast Plant Conservation Alliance, NatureServe, a
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Climate Smart Restoration: Establishing Baselines and Developing Adaptive Management Approaches

In Hawaiʻi, a large percentage of historically forested areas have been lost, driven in part by changes in land use, such as the conversion of forests into pastures for livestock. This transformation has not only resulted in widespread loss of native biodiversity and important ecosystem functions but has also increased the risk of fire on the landscape. Though targeted restoration efforts have the
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Climate Smart Restoration: Establishing Baselines and Developing Adaptive Management Approaches

In Hawaiʻi, a large percentage of historically forested areas have been lost, driven in part by changes in land use, such as the conversion of forests into pastures for livestock. This transformation has not only resulted in widespread loss of native biodiversity and important ecosystem functions but has also increased the risk of fire on the landscape. Though targeted restoration efforts have the
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Developing Climate Calendars to Inform Invasive Species Management in the Northeast

Controlling the spread and impacts of invasive species is becoming more challenging as climate conditions change. More relevant information is needed to guide timely and localized management actions for these species to preserve cultural resources and ecosystem integrity. Data products are most valuable when they are developed with input from the people who use them for invasive species managemen
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Developing Climate Calendars to Inform Invasive Species Management in the Northeast

Controlling the spread and impacts of invasive species is becoming more challenging as climate conditions change. More relevant information is needed to guide timely and localized management actions for these species to preserve cultural resources and ecosystem integrity. Data products are most valuable when they are developed with input from the people who use them for invasive species managemen
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How Do Critical Life History Stages Limit Plant Adaptation to Changing Climate? The Role of Seedling and Sapling Survivorship in Ecosystem Resilience

Ecosystems respond to disturbances (such as wildfire) and changing climate in a variety of ways, including persistence, recovery, and reorganization into new combinations. Some species respond by migrating across the landscape over time, which allows them to keep up with changing climate. Many forests recover after wildfire by regenerating from seeds, and public land managers often assist these pr
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How Do Critical Life History Stages Limit Plant Adaptation to Changing Climate? The Role of Seedling and Sapling Survivorship in Ecosystem Resilience

Ecosystems respond to disturbances (such as wildfire) and changing climate in a variety of ways, including persistence, recovery, and reorganization into new combinations. Some species respond by migrating across the landscape over time, which allows them to keep up with changing climate. Many forests recover after wildfire by regenerating from seeds, and public land managers often assist these pr
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Informing Forest Treatment Placement to Mitigate High-Severity Wildfire Risk

Large, hot, fast-moving wildfires are an increasing threat to communities and to the watersheds they rely upon. Forest managers work to reduce the risk from these fires using forest thinning and prescribed burning to reduce the amount of fuel in the forest. However, these activities are expensive, and it can be challenging to identify which acres of forest should be targeted with thinning and burn
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Informing Forest Treatment Placement to Mitigate High-Severity Wildfire Risk

Large, hot, fast-moving wildfires are an increasing threat to communities and to the watersheds they rely upon. Forest managers work to reduce the risk from these fires using forest thinning and prescribed burning to reduce the amount of fuel in the forest. However, these activities are expensive, and it can be challenging to identify which acres of forest should be targeted with thinning and burn
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Post-fire Vegetation Transitions in Burned and Reburned Forests in the Western Cascades

Climatic warming has contributed to recent increases in severe wildfires across the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Following severe wildfire, a burned forest has an increased likelihood burning again within several decades, which can greatly alter vegetation recovery. These changes are of increasing concern to forest managers, conservationists, researchers, the public, and culture bearers. However, more
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Post-fire Vegetation Transitions in Burned and Reburned Forests in the Western Cascades

Climatic warming has contributed to recent increases in severe wildfires across the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Following severe wildfire, a burned forest has an increased likelihood burning again within several decades, which can greatly alter vegetation recovery. These changes are of increasing concern to forest managers, conservationists, researchers, the public, and culture bearers. However, more
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Reducing Wildfire Risk While Maintaining Critical Monarch Habitat Along the California Coast

The California Coast has hundreds of tree groves where dual management practices aim to reduce the risk of fire and to conserve habitat for overwintering monarch butterflies. As the climate changes, longer high-intensity droughts can increase mortality and/or limb loss in grove trees which causes an accumulation of fire-prone fuels. Moreover, these trees provide the critical habitat for overwinter
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Reducing Wildfire Risk While Maintaining Critical Monarch Habitat Along the California Coast

The California Coast has hundreds of tree groves where dual management practices aim to reduce the risk of fire and to conserve habitat for overwintering monarch butterflies. As the climate changes, longer high-intensity droughts can increase mortality and/or limb loss in grove trees which causes an accumulation of fire-prone fuels. Moreover, these trees provide the critical habitat for overwinter
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The Effects of Catastrophic Wildfires on Vegetation and Fuel Loads in the Sierra Nevada of California

In recent years, a number of catastrophic wildfires have fundamentally changed species composition and structure across a large area of the Sierra Nevada of California. These fires leave behind many large, severely burned patches of land where the majority of trees have died. To make informed management decisions, forest managers need to understand the long-term effects of these fires on vegetatio
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The Effects of Catastrophic Wildfires on Vegetation and Fuel Loads in the Sierra Nevada of California

In recent years, a number of catastrophic wildfires have fundamentally changed species composition and structure across a large area of the Sierra Nevada of California. These fires leave behind many large, severely burned patches of land where the majority of trees have died. To make informed management decisions, forest managers need to understand the long-term effects of these fires on vegetatio
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The Role of Forest Structure in Regulating Water Availability and Implications for Natural Resources and Ecosystem Function

Wildfire, drought, and insects are reshaping forests in the Western United States in a manner that is being exacerbated by warming temperatures. Disturbance events such as these can significantly alter the amount of land that is covered by forest in an area or region. Consequently, changes in forest cover from disturbance can impact water runoff conditions leading to dangerous flooding, erosion, a
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The Role of Forest Structure in Regulating Water Availability and Implications for Natural Resources and Ecosystem Function

Wildfire, drought, and insects are reshaping forests in the Western United States in a manner that is being exacerbated by warming temperatures. Disturbance events such as these can significantly alter the amount of land that is covered by forest in an area or region. Consequently, changes in forest cover from disturbance can impact water runoff conditions leading to dangerous flooding, erosion, a
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Understanding Post-fire Transformations in Inland Northwest Forests and Shrublands

Vegetation transformations after wildfires are a growing issue for forest and shrubland managers in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Severe fires combined with persistent drought and invasive species can slow or prevent the recovery of burned forests and shrublands to their pre-fire states, resulting in ecological, economic, and cultural losses. Forests may be converted to shrub fields or grasslands,
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Understanding Post-fire Transformations in Inland Northwest Forests and Shrublands

Vegetation transformations after wildfires are a growing issue for forest and shrubland managers in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Severe fires combined with persistent drought and invasive species can slow or prevent the recovery of burned forests and shrublands to their pre-fire states, resulting in ecological, economic, and cultural losses. Forests may be converted to shrub fields or grasslands,
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Using the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel to Guide Resilient Restoration of Red Spruce in the Central Appalachians

High elevation red spruce forests are among the most iconic and visited natural communities in the High Alleghenies of the Central Appalachian Mountains. These ecosystems provide many services such as clean water and carbon sequestration, as well as habitat for species of high conservation concern, i.e., the eastern brook trout, the northern goshawk, and the northern flying squirrel. However, wide
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Using the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel to Guide Resilient Restoration of Red Spruce in the Central Appalachians

High elevation red spruce forests are among the most iconic and visited natural communities in the High Alleghenies of the Central Appalachian Mountains. These ecosystems provide many services such as clean water and carbon sequestration, as well as habitat for species of high conservation concern, i.e., the eastern brook trout, the northern goshawk, and the northern flying squirrel. However, wide
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A Multi-Scale Decision Support Platform for Adaptive Management of Post-Fire Landscapes in the Inland Northwest

Climate change is contributing to an increase in wildfire activity in the western United States, including the Blue Mountains and Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills of the Inland Northwest. Some forest ecosystems are changing from forest to non-forest because of severe fires, a hot and dry climate, and/or the absence of a viable seed source. On sites impacted by wildfire, managers are tasked wi
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A Multi-Scale Decision Support Platform for Adaptive Management of Post-Fire Landscapes in the Inland Northwest

Climate change is contributing to an increase in wildfire activity in the western United States, including the Blue Mountains and Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills of the Inland Northwest. Some forest ecosystems are changing from forest to non-forest because of severe fires, a hot and dry climate, and/or the absence of a viable seed source. On sites impacted by wildfire, managers are tasked wi
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