The Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Project in the San Juan National Forest: A Case Study on Fire Management
Climate change is affecting forests in the US, and forest managers require resources to predict and respond to climate impacts but have few examples of climate adaptation strategies implemented at scale to learn from. The San Juan National Forest (SJNF) contains dry mixed-conifer forests where climate change has exacerbated the impacts of drought, fire, insect and disease pressure. The SJNF houses an Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) site. The ASCC project is a multi-region network of research sites testing science-based strategies to help forests resist, be resilient to, or transition to meet the impacts of projected future climate conditions. In 2014, scientists, land managers, and non-governmental organization (NGO) personnel participated in a workshop to identify desired future conditions and develop adaptation strategies for the SJNF.
Key Issues Addressed
Pressure from insects, and disease, such as bark beetles, and fir engravers, as well as root diseases and dwarf mistletoe, are increasing tree mortality in the SJNF. Reduced fire frequency has also increased the density of Gambel oak and young coniferous trees, increasing the severity of wildfire and competition for limited water resources. These conditions further exacerbate the impacts of drought, disease, and insect damage. Individual forest managers require resources, knowledge, and examples to help develop, implement, monitor, and communicate about operational-scale climate adaptation strategies with stakeholders.
- Share tools and approaches to integrate climate change into decision making
- Collaboratively identify desired future conditions, management objectives, and on-the-ground actions that respond to the impacts of climate change
- Provide a robust, operational-scale example of climate adaptation strategies
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