Changing the Conversation about Fire

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Air date: 
Mon, 02/22/2016 - 10:15am to 11:00am
Wild Fires as nature’s remarkable resilience at work
Forest ecologists Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hanson view forests as a dynamic ecosystem in which fire is an essential part of nature’s circle of life. For years they have promoted coexisting with backcountry fires rather than relentlessly fighting them. While the news media and Congress each year proclaim burnt forests from Yellowstone to the Sierra and Cascade Mountains as unprecedented catastrophes, what these scientists see is nature’s remarkable resilience at work.

On this episode of Locus Focus, Dominick and Chad join host Barbara Bernstein for a rational conversation on the vital role that fire plays in promoting healthy forest ecosystems, especially now as fire season has died down.

Dominick DellaSala is the Chief Scientist for the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon. Chad Hanson is an ecologist with the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute in California. DellaSala and Hanson were the lead authors of arecent letter to Congress from over 260 scientists, informing policy-makers that large fires are not ecological catastrophes, rather, they create variety in forest habitat associated with extraordinary levels of plant and animal richness and diversity in the western United States, including many imperiled species that require post-fire habitat. They are also the editors and co-authors of the recent book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix, and a 2015 op-ed in the New York Times.  

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