Climate change, forests and fire in the Sierra Nevada (...) future resource management

Organização: CEF/CEABN

Data: 18 dezembro 2018 :: 12h30 às 13h30

Local: Auditório Florestal - Edificio Azevedo Gomes

Tema: "Climate change, forests and fire in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA: implications for current and future resource management"

Orador: Hugh Safford (Regional Ecologist for the USFS Pacific Southwest Region and University of California)


Hugh Safford is Regional Ecologist for the USFS Pacific Southwest Region (California, Hawaii, and Pacific territories), and a member of the research faculty, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California-Davis. Safford manages a staff of ecologists that provide expertise in fire and vegetation ecology, inventory, monitoring, and general applied science to resource management on the National Forests in California. He is director of the Sierra Nevada section of the California Fire Science Consortium, and co-chairman of the California Research Natural Areas committee. Safford provides technical assistance to the International Program of the USFS and the US-Agency for International Development (USAID); recent projects include fire management planning in northern Mexico, climate change adaptation in SE Brazil, and forest restoration in North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. Safford is a current Fulbright Global Scholars Program fellow, studying postfire restoration practices in southern Europe.


The climate in California has been warming and is projected to warm much more before the end of the current century. Although long-term trends in mean annual precipitation are mostly steady or rising in the northern half of the State, summers are drier, and the snowpack is diminishing. At the same time, the recent millennial drought and subsequent wettest year on record remind us of the high interannual variability in the California climate, and this variability – which has fundamental effects on California ecosystems – is increasing. Warmer, drier summers, coupled with the legacies of a century of sometimes misguided human management, are leading to a notable increase in the frequency, extent, and severity of forest fires in the Sierra Nevada. The recent drought added large-scale beetle-driven mortality to the mix. These and other factors are leading to possible threshold-type dynamics in montane forest ecosystems. I discuss the management implications of this developing situation for the Sierra Nevada and adjoining regions.