Presented by Camille Stevens-Rumann and hosted by the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network and the Association for Fire Ecology, this webinar covered a recent review published in the Journal of Fire Ecology on tree regeneration following wildfire in the western US. The webinar follows up on the most recent episode of Fire Ecology Chats, a podcast series hosted by the Association for Fire Ecology. We highly encourage you to listen to the podcast before or after the webinar for highlights from the author, and also check out other episodes of Fire Ecology Chats here, or search for the series in iTunes or Google Podcasts.
Given projected climate change, tree regeneration declines and ecosystem shifts following severe wildfires are predicted. Researchers reviewed scientific literature on post-fire tree regeneration to understand where and why no or few trees established. The literature review showed that little to no post-fire tree regeneration was more common in low-elevation, dry forest types than in high-elevation forest types. However, depending on the region and species, low tree regeneration was also observed in high elevation, moist forests. Researchers supply a decision support tool of where to plant tree seedlings in large high severity burned patches and recommend possibilities for mitigating and limiting large high severity burned patches to increase survival of trees to be sources of seed for natural regeneration. They emphasize prioritizing the interior of large burned patches and considering current and future climate in deciding what, when, and where to plant trees. Finally, managing fires and forests for more seed-source tree survival will reduce large, non-forested areas following wildfires where post-fire management may be necessary.