California’s 2020 wildfire season has been unprecedented in terms of scale, duration, and intensity. And while we are still evaluating the actual ecological effects of this year’s major Sierra Nevada fires, it is clear that the combined impacts of fatalities, prolonged smoke exposure, evacuations, structure loss, impacts to forestlands, and more have been devastating for our region’s communities and ecosystems. Read more
The pandemic, 2020 wildfires, and the election—this year we have lived through an unprecedented amount of turmoil and change, and all with direct impacts to forests in the Sierra Nevada. Early in the year, precautions adopted to protect fire fighters and land management practitioners from the spread of COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of prescribed fires, limits on the management of ignitions for resource benefit, and a general slow-down in other restoration treatments. As the Forest Service overcame the challenges of completing restoration actions while being “COVID-safe," the 2020 wildfire season placed extreme demands on people and resources as they sought to limit damage and contain fires. Finally, snow and rain in the Sierra Nevada have put a wrap on the fire season for this year, and we find ourselves in a post-election drama like none seen before. Read more
As forest collaboratives across California continue to plan, implement, and monitor projects to achieve resilient forests, a recent effort by the South Fork American River (SOFAR) cohesive strategy group provides an example of how varying interests have made an intentional effort to resolve controversies, in this case related to the management of red fir forests.
Red fir forests make up a large portion of the forest area in the upper headwaters of the SOFAR watershed and many other watersheds on the Eldorado National Forest. Differing views on whether and how to implement projects in areas of red fir prompted SOFAR stakeholders to develop and document agreed upon management goals and objectives for red fir forests within the collaborative area. Read more
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