Land use change, climate and wildfire in California
Wildfire is an important ecological process in California, where a diversity of fire regimes shape the structure and composition of plant and animal communities. Fire regimes are changing beyond their historical range of variability, however, due to several factors, including past fire management, invasive species, land use change, and climate change. These changes not only threaten the integrity and diversity of biological communities, but affect human communities, too, as residential losses to wildfire have skyrocketed in the last several decades. Two of these drivers, land use and climate, are expected to change dramatically in the coming century, raising substantial concern about their effects on fire regimes and subsequent impacts to human communities and biological diversity.
CBI has partnered with University of California, Berkeley to develop and implement a scenario-based integrated modeling framework to quantify the relative importance of climatic and land use factors on current and future projected fire patterns and risk of structure loss for three study areas in California. Select research questions driving this project include:
1) How do patterns of fire activity vary by land use change and climate?
2) How does structure loss vary by land use and climate change?
3) How do these relationships varyby geographic region?
4) Given these relationships, how are large fires and associated structure risk likely to change in the future?
Results of the assembled model output will be distributed to appropriate stakeholders and Data Basin will host the mapped output data.