Measuring wildfire impacts and post-fire recovery of shrubland biomass under different climate conditions
Primary Investigator: Emma Underwood, Ph.D.
Project Partners: Hugh Safford, Ph.D.
Institution: University of California, Davis
Project Type: General
Grant Award #8GG19814
Amount awarded: $353,973.86
Award Date: September 2019
Shrubland ecosystems cover over half of southern California and are experiencing wildfire at increasingly frequent intervals, with implications for the ecosystem services these landscapes provide. Currently, resource managers, conservation practitioners and researchers of shrubland-dominated ecosystems are challenged by a paucity of data on pre- and post-fire biomass and its recovery. The foundation for this proposal is our previous work funded by the USFS Pacific Southwest Region and also CalFire Forest Health Grant (Agreement 8GG18803). In this study we focus on shrubland dominated landscapes which include the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. In this project we (a) undertake fieldwork to provide a comprehensive validation of the outputs of our aboveground live biomass model, including developing innovative image techniques to collect field data; (b) use modeled and field data to investigate biomass recovery after wildfire and how this varies across environmental and climatic gradients; and (c) develop models to map the distribution of different shrub life history types (seeder, resprouter, and facultative seeder) to help inform our understanding of different pools of biomass and carbon storage. The outputs from this research will be integrated into our online web mapping tool, SoCal EcoServe, which allows resource managers to view and query data on ecosystem services pre- and post-fire and explore in detail the impacts of wildfire on biomass and carbon. The information and data generated will directly contribute to the resource management of shrubland-dominated landscapes, particularly on the National Forests encompassed by the study area. The proposed research directly addresses two of the 2019-20 Forest Health Research Grant priorities including post-wildfire impacts, recovery, and resilience in an altered future climate (number 5) and the ecological implications of increase used of prescribed fire and managed wildfire (number 2).
Schrader-Patton, C.C. and E.C. Underwood. 2021. New biomass estimates for chaparral-dominated
southern California landscapes. Remote Sensing, 13, 1581. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13081581
Molinari, N.A., E.C. Underwood, S.C. Sawyer, and R.J. Butz. 2021. Chapter 5, California chaparral case
study. Pages 99-122 in Meyer, M.D., J.W. Long, and H.D. Safford, editors. Postfire restoration framework for national forests in California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-270. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. Albany, CA. 204 p
Underwood, E.C, H.D. Safford, N.A. Molinari, and J.E. Keeley (editors). 2018. Valuing chaparral:
ecological, socio-economic, and management perspectives. Springer Series on Environmental Management. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
- EcoServe Tool: https://manzanita.forestry.oregonstate.edu/EcoServeHome/
- Project website: https://socalecosystemservices.ucdavis.edu/
- ‘Valuing Chaparral’ an ecosystem services educational video created in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-8KFNr1c9o&t=2s
- Podcast interview on on climate change and shrubland carbon: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/podcasts/unfold/california-wildfires-climate-change
Emma Underwood, Ph.D (PI)
CAL FIRE Forest Health Research Program