Trimming trees
(Image credit: Washington State Department of Natural Resources ‘Wildfire fuel reduction’ video)

Some of the largest wildfires on record have swept across the West in recent years.

Restoring these areas and managing forests to prevent more dangerous fires is complicated, especially as the climate warms.

“A lot of our management has been designed up until now with the expectation of a stable climate. And that expectation is no longer accurate,” says Dan Siemann if the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. “And so we’re having to think about things like, ‘What species should we be planting here that can survive not only in our current climate, but in future climates?'”

To find solutions, agencies in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia are collaborating. In a memorandum of understanding, the agencies pledged to share data and innovations.

The group is also exploring ways to offset the costs of forest management. For example, they’re looking for markets for wood from the small trees and branches that are cut when forests are thinned.

Siemann says he’s optimistic that by working together, the region can better adapt to global warming while saving time and money.

“We’re really learning from each other and advancing our effectiveness around this,” he says.

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Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Editor’s note: This article was updated July 20, 2020, to include Oregon, which was omitted in a previous version.

Topics: Food & Agriculture