Research-supported and frequently endangered forests have very few trees
What does a “resilient” forest look like in California Nevada, California? Few trees we are accustomed to, according to a study of repeated wildfires from Davis University of California.
More than a hundred years ago, the Sierra Nevada forests had no competition for wealth from neighboring trees. A.D. Tree densities in the late 1800’s still amaze most California residents. As a result of the fires, existing trees in the forests live with six to seven times more trees than their ancestors – in dry and hot conditions they compete for less water.
According to a study published in the Journal of Forest Ecology and Management, low-density deforestation is the key to creating forests that can withstand severe fires, droughts, bark beetles and climate change.
This approach is a far cry from the current management strategies used by trees to compete for forestry.
But first, what does the study mean to “resist”? With the rise of management plans, the term has become increasingly ambiguous and difficult to quantify. The authors have developed this definition of work: “Resistance is a sign of the forest’s ability to adapt to a variety of stresses and reflects the practical value of the ecosystem.
They also found that a common forest development tool – the Stand Dense Index or SDI – was effective in assessing forest resilience.
Malcolm North, an associate professor of forest ecology at UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences and author of Malcolm North, a US forest service researcher in the Pacific Southwest, “Deforested forests respond to a variety of stressors. “’Resisting’ means surviving special stresses like fire – but there are many more in these forests, especially related to climate change.
Managing fire resilience in forests requires significant reduction in density – up to 80% of trees in some cases.
Scott Berkeley Scott Stefanos, co-author of the paper, says:
The study compared large-scale historical and contemporary databases and forest conditions in southern and central Sierra Nevada, from the Sekoya National Forest to the Stanislaus National Forest. A.D. Between 1911 and 2011, tree density increased six to seven times, and the average tree size decreased by half.
A hundred years ago, both the densities and the competition were low. More than three-quarters of deforestation had little or no competition to slow down the tree’s growth and reduce its strength. In contrast, almost all – 82% -95% – of the modern forest fires are considered “complete competition.”
According to the study, low-density forests are resistant to co-occurring fire, drought and other climatic stresses and protect healthy water quality, wildlife habitat and other natural resources. Severely burned forests or deforested forests lose such ecological services.
Drought in 2012-2016 A beetle invasion that killed nearly 150 million trees due to drought Wildfire.
The transition from controlling competitive forests to eliminating competition will enable the few to prosper and become stronger.
“People are accustomed to the vast forests where we live,” North said. “Many people are amazed at what these forests look like when they are exposed to the ravages of wildfires. But leaving small trees and allowing the trees to pass through fire and drought will leave a wonderful forest. Competition between small trees means creating very open spaces. But there is much historical evidence to support this.
“We think unsustainable forests can be created, but as long as there is no competition, tree density will have to be significantly reduced,” said Brandon Collins of UC Berkeley. “Doing so will allow these forests to adapt to future weather conditions.”
Additional co-authors include Ryan Cooperative Extension Ryan Tompkins and Alexis Burnal and UC Berkeley Robert York.
The study was funded by the National Park Service Pacific West Region, US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, US Joint Fire Science Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
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