Fire suppression, in combination with past unsustainable logging practices, has altered the historical structure of many forest stands and reduced ecosystem diversity across the landscape. Build up of fuel levels from the lack of burning, “ladders” of vegetation that allow fires to climb from the forest floor to the canopy, and reduced stand diversity from logging has helped create forests that, when fire does come, can end up burning hotter and more intensely than fires would under “normal” circumstances. Add to this the increase in numbers of residential homes in forested settings, and communities are left with a very complex and expensive set of challenges.
Current efforts to address ecosystem restoration and fuel thinning programs are designed to mitigate this concern. However, the scale of the problem requires careful use of resources and treatments to help reduce wildfire management costs, restore pre-suppression old growth conditions, and improve the landscape’s resiliency in the face of climate change.
The Southwestern Crown Collaborative is working to make that happen.