Science You Can Use (in 5 minutes): December 2019
In the Intermountain region of the Western United States, most forested landscapes are fire prone and adapted to a semiarid climate. With the severity of wildfires increasing as a result of excessive fuels, land managers are concerned about forest converting to non-forest types such as shrubland or grassland. “And then when you throw climate change into the mix, the wildfire conversion risk goes even higher,” said Sean Parks, a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI), Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS).
Since it was unknown as to the extent of forests within the Intermountain region that were vulnerable to conversion through the combination of climate change and stand-replacing wildfire, Parks led a team to calculate that answer.