Lessons on wildfire resilience from a 4,000-acre forest lab

February 01, 2022

For more than 50 years, Berkeley forestry researchers have used the Blodgett Forest Research Station as a living laboratory to study how different land management treatments—including prescribed burning, restoration thinning, and timber harvesting—can reduce the risk of severe wildfire and improve a forest’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The 4,000-acre experimental forest in the northern Sierra Nevada offers Berkeley Forests researchers like Ariel Roughton and ESPM faculty members Rob York, John Battles, and Scott Stephens an environment to experiment with fire as a primary tool to maintain biodiversity and improve forest management practices.

“Back then, people thought, ‘Why would you ever want to use fire for land management?’ They wanted to grow trees, they want to grow timber. The idea of seeing black and char was literally off the scale,” Scott Stephens, a professor of forest science and co-director of Berkeley Forests, told Berkeley News. “It’s amazing that just a few decades ago, researchers didn’t have the opportunity to do the work that Rob and Ariel and others are doing up here now.”

Read the entire story on the Berkeley News website.