Webinar - Wildfire and Climate Change Adaptation of Western North American Forests: A Case for Proactive Management


In a Nutshell:Experts tell the story of forest change since colonization, and share insights and answer questions about how we might steward a legacy of forest change and mitigate climate change impacts.


  • Susan Prichard, Research Scientist with University of Washington
  • Keala Hagmann, Research Ecologist with Applegate Forestry, LLC and University of Washington
  • Paul Hessburg Sr., Research Landscape Ecologist with USDA Forest Service and Professor with University of Washington

Climate change and wildfires pose an existential threat to western North American forests, a reality which necessitates place-based strategies to increase their resilience – if forests are to be widely conserved. EuroAmerican colonization, development, and management, along with fire suppression, have contributed to widespread fire exclusion and changes in forest structure, composition, and wildfire regimes. Past selection cutting removed large fire- and drought-resilient trees, allowing for widespread infilling of fire sensitive trees. All of these factors contributed to current forest vulnerability. In an Ecological Applications Feature, the presenters offered three articles that formally reviewed the evidence of forest changes, discussed 10 common questions about the utility of mitigation measures, and presented the need for climate and wildfire adaptation of modern forests. In this extended Consortium webinar, Dr. Keala Hagmann will review a century of research evidence detailing widespread changes to forested landscapes and wildfire regimes. Dr. Susan Prichard will review common questions surrounding the application and relevance of mitigation measures to remedy the documented changes. Dr. Paul Hessburg will present the case for intentional adaptive management to reverse these changes. Following their presentations, the speakers will lead a discussion on reframing management direction and current barriers to increasing the pace and scale of forest adaptation.

Hosted by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium.

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