Tune in to the news in California and you’re likely to hear about yet another wildfire somewhere in the state, forcing people from their homes and threatening their lives. The fires burn through forests and shrublands, leaving a scorched landscape. But if you return a few years later, you’ll see hillsides covered in lush growth with oaks and other hardwoods resprouting and the dead trunks of burned trees poking through to the sky. Fire has been a part of California’s ecosystems for millions of years; our native flora is adapted to recover and regrow. However, a changing climate and decades of our own well-intentioned practices are leading to larger and more intense fires. This lecture will examine the history of fire, the responses of native ecosystems, and projections for the coming century.
BIo: David D. Ackerly Dean, College of Natural Resources and Professor, Integrative Biology and Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementDavid Ackerly’s current research focuses on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in California and the implications for conservation and land management. Ackerly co-leads the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Initiative, a group focused on climate change impacts and climate adaptation strategies in the San Francisco Bay Area; and is co-director of the Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard and has also taught at Stanford.