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    Scientists from PSW considered the effects of severe wildfire in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Range in a recent synthesis that focused on promoting resiliency of forests and the societies connected to them. Fire is indispensable to maintaining the health and productivity of most forests in the Sierra Nevada, and fires can also rejuvenate aquatic systems by reforming in-stream habitats and increasing the supply of light, water, and nutrients. However, the size and unpredictability of mega-fires impacts people’s well-being, and their tendency to burn extraordinarily large and severe patches threatens important ecological values. Mega-fires often burn so intensely that they have fewer unburned or moderately burned areas that can provide kernels for recovery. As a result, the oversized effects of mega-fires compound the existing vulnerability of forests and communities and threaten their long-term resilience, even though plants, animals, and people do re-inhabit the burned areas.

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    Long, Jonathan W. 2014. Research Brief: Impacts of Extreme Fires in the Sierra Nevada [Research Brief]. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 2 p.


    ecological restoration, socioecological systems, resilience, forest planning, fire management

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