CalFire awards $5.5 million in grants for forest research, some local

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Forest Health Research Program has awarded $5.5 million to support 15 scientific research studies. The results of these studies will provide critical information and tools to forest landowners, resource agencies, fire management organizations and policy makers across California on a variety of topics related to forest health and forest management. Research projects are expected to produce scientific publications, outreach and education events and decision support tools.

Projects in Lassen County
50101693 — University of Washington Van R. Kane — From trees to ecoregion: A synoptic multi-scale assessment of forest risk and opportunities for increased resilience across the Sierra Nevada — Lassen, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, Sierra, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yuba counti9es — $499,990
This study examines how the forest structure component of resilience to wildfire spatially varies across the dry conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada by forest type, biophysical gradient, ownership class and fire history in today’s and likely future climates. This will reveal drivers of these variations and provide managers with spatially explicit actionable information to improve resilience.

50027587 — US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Stephanie Yelenik — Post-fire forest regeneration and restoration success in eastside Sierra Nevada Jeffrey pine forests — Lassen, Alpine, Mono, Plumas and Sierra counties — $499,701
Jeffrey pine ecosystems in the eastern Sierra Nevada are understudied yet are at risk of type conversion following large, high severity fires or short-interval repeat wildfires. Researchers will install permanent plots to assess natural post-fire regeneration and conduct restoration experiments to evaluate conditions and management actions that promote forest resilience.

50122564 — The Regents of the University of California Corrina Munger — Influence of post-fire reforestation activities on subsequent wildfire severity — Lassen and Plumas counties — $100,000
With climate change and changing patterns of fire and drought, forests are increasingly vulnerable to bark beetle outbreaks. How do historic droughts and fires affect tree resistance to beetles? This study combines tree ring analysis of axial resin ducts, tree demographics, climate and fire severity data to evaluate the influence of prior droughts and fires on tree resistance to biotic attack.

In addition, there are a number of statewide projects that may touch Lassen County.

Proposals selected for award include research projects focused on post-fire restoration, forest resilience to pests, new decision support tools for communities and homeowners and the use of national Forest Inventory and Analysis data to inform biomass estimates in forests and shrublands. Grantees include the University of California, Northern Arizona University, University of Wyoming and the USDA Forest Service, among others.

“The Forest Health Research Grant Program continues to attract high quality research projects focused on a range of wildfire and forest health issues,” said Chris Keithley, Assistant Deputy Director of Fire and Resource Assessment at CalFire. “Collectively, the results help inform CalFire and the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force on the changes in environmental conditions, climate related impacts to forests and wildfire behavior, and the effectiveness of forest management.”

The Forest Health Research Program was established as part of California Climate Investments to answer important questions that further our knowledge in forest health and resilience, impacts of wildfire on communities and the environment, science-based tools that aid in land management planning and best practices, effectiveness of fuel treatments, carbon storage and uptake, and many other topics.

Funding for these grants comes from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds through the California Climate Investments program and the Wildfire and Forest Resilience budget package.

Managed as part of CalFire’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program, the Forest Health Research Program allocates funds to five different project types: projects on CalFire Demonstration State Forests, projects on other forestland in California, graduate student research, scientific synthesis and tool development, and special topics of interest. This year the special topics projects focused on leveraging national Forest Inventory and Analysis data.

Click here for complete list of the awarded projects and their summaries can be found on the Forest Health Research website.