Sponsored by the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network
Presented by Kyra Wolf, University of Montana.
Climate warming and increasing frequency and severity of wildfires have the potential to undermine forest resilience to wildfires through changes in seed availability and post-fire climate. This webinar describes results from a study in which researchers quantified the impacts of wildfires on microclimate conditions and evaluated how microclimate and fire severity affect early post-fire seedling regeneration and survival in mixed-conifer and subalpine forests of the Northern Rockies. They found that canopy removal by high-severity fire amplifies warm and dry microclimatic extremes in the understory, and reveal that seedling establishment and survival are sensitive to local microclimate and other microsite factors. Their findings highlight that fine-scale heterogeneity in fire effects facilitates regeneration by generating diverse microsite environments even within high-severity patches.