Fire Ecology

Defending Bedrock Environmental Laws and Policies

Fire is a natural force that has shaped the biodiversity of dry forests across the West for millennia. Fire is only catastrophic when it destroys homes or results in loss of life. Unfortunately, fire has been used as an excuse for opening up millions of acres of public lands to unabated logging based on the false premise that logging can prevent future fires and is needed to “restore” forests that have burned. We have chosen to work on fire as a key- stone ecological process because there is much public concern about whether it will increase during a warming climate and whether it is a significant source of CO2 emissions.

For over a decade, Geos Institute has been playing a leadership role in bringing cutting-edge science on the ecological importance of fire featured in top tier science journals, news media reports, and in efforts by partners to defend landmark environmental laws and policies. We continue to develop scientifically sound alternatives that advocate for let-burn policies under safe conditions in the backcountry and fuels reduction near homes and in flammable tree plantations.

Fuels management or logging?

Geos Institute's chief scientist Dominick DellaSala is critical of The Nature Conservancy and their approach of "fuel reduction" as a mechanism to control forest fires. Read the full article posted by the Earth Island Journal.

Dominick DellaSala on climate change and forest fires in the West

The climate of the West is changing rapidly leading to the potential for more fires in places by the middle of this century. Chief Scientist Dominick DellaSala discusses how thinning a forest away from homes will not protect homes or fire-fighter lives when a fire eventually occurs particularly as fires are driven increasingly by extreme weather events. Living with fire is possible by re-directing fire suppression dollars to helping homeowners reduce their risks of fire. Logging in the backcountry will not help prepare homes or property from fire risks. Listen to the debate.

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