Category: General Publications
Title: 2013 Wildfire Season: An Overview, Southwestern U.S.
Author: Evans, A.M.
Abstract: Ecological restoration is a practice that seeks to heal degraded ecosystems by reestablishing native species, structural characteristics, and ecological processes. The Society for Ecological Restoration International defines ecological restoration as “an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability….Restoration attempts to return an ecosystem to its historic trajectory” (Society for Ecological Restoration International Science & Policy Working Group 2004). Most frequent-fire forests throughout the Intermountain West have been degraded during the last 150 years. Many of these forests are now dominated by unnaturally dense thickets of small trees, and lack their once diverse understory of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Forests in this condition are highly susceptible to damaging, stand-replacing fires and increased insect and disease epidemics. Restoration of these forests centers on reintroducing frequent, low-severity surface fires—often after thinning dense stands—and reestablishing productive understory plant communities. The Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University is a pioneer in researching, implementing, and monitoring ecological restoration of frequent-fire forests of the Intermountain West. By allowing natural processes, such as low-severity fire, to resume self-sustaining patterns, we hope to reestablish healthy forests that provide ecosystem services, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. The Southwest Fire Science Consortium (SWFSC) is a way for managers, scientists, and policy makers to interact and share science. SWFSC’s goal is to see the best science used to make management decisions and scientists working on the questions managers need answered. The SWFSC tries to bring together localized efforts to develop scientific information and to disseminate that to practitioners on the ground through an inclusive and open process. This publication would not have been possible without funding from the USDA Forest Service and the Southwest Fire Science Consortium. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author(s) and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the United States Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the United States Government or the ERI.
Source: Ecological Restoration Institute
Publisher: Ecological Restoration Institute/SouthWest Fire Consortium/NAU