The San Joaquin region of Southern California is currently undergoing the most severe drought in its recorded history. In the central and southern Sierra Nevada, federal land managers are scrambling to respond to this event, but they lack information needed to make informed decisions. It is assumed that removing small trees using a combination of mechanical thinning and/or prescribed fire will result in reduced competition for water and light and allow the remaining trees to be more resistant in the face of stressors, such as drought. Yet this proposition remains largely untested. This project will integrate extensive field data with remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to inform a key management decision for forest climate change adaptation: Are current thinning prescriptions sufficient to promote forest health under severe drought conditions or will prescriptions need to be more aggressive to meet this goal under increasingly frequent drought?
Can management increase forest resistance to drought?
Project Start Year
- Phil Van Mantgem, US Geological Survey
- Adrian Das, USGS
- Susan Ustin, University of California, Davis
- Carlos Ramirez, US Forest Service
- Hugh Safford, US Forest Service
- Margarita Huesca, University of California, Davis
- Kristen Shapiro, University of California, Davis
- Ryan Boynton, University of California, Davis
- Zawisza Grabinski, USGS
State and federal land managers (U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, California State Parks, Cal Fire)
The state of California is working on its 4th climate vulnerability assessment. Thorne is a PI on a project among the many being advanced for this initiative. Thorne described this project to the assembled group of state agency-sponsored scientists at the overall kickoff meeting held in Sacramento, CA on March 22, 2016.
Outreach and Engagement
Webinar for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative
April 21, 2016.
Stakeholder Workshop at the 2016 Natural Areas Conference
October Oct 19, 2016
Stakeholder Meeting in Sequoia National Park
PI Thorne presented to the California Tree Mortality Task Force
Invited to present work to the California Department of Fire Resource and Assessment Program (FRAP)