Grow Back Better
Wed, July 06, 2022
Sean Jeronimo, PhD
This spring, we received exciting news about a research proposal funded by the Joint Fire Science Program. The "Grow Back Better" project, led by University of Oregon's Prof. Heidi Huber-Stearns, was funded as a three-year study of social and ecological factors shaping wildfire recovery on non-industrial private forestlands in the western Oregon Cascades. Resilient Forestry is a collaborator on the project, along with Sustainable Northwest and the Forest Stewards Guild.
In recent years, we have had some very large and intense wildfires in Oregon. The 2020 Labor Day Fires in the western Cascades were particularly severe and rapid-moving. Even more, while most large fires in the West primarily burn on public lands, the 2020 fires burned up large amounts of private forestland of all types, including commercial timberlands, small holdings, even and residences and towns. The focus of this project will be to understand how wildfires like these affect non-industrial private forest owners, what existing recovery programs look like from these owners' perspectives, and how public and non-profit funding can most effectively help these landowners while also restoring resilience to the broader forest landscape (including adjacent public lands).
Resilient Forestry's role in this project will be to collaborate with the research team to develop qualitative and quantitative definitions of ecological resilience and post-fire ecosystem recovery. We will also provide expertise on the topic of forest regeneration and its interaction with climate change.
We hope that this project will result in more effective post-fire recovery support for non-industrial private forest landowners that enhances both community values and landscape-level ecosystem resilience.
We look forward to working on this project and congratulate Prof. Huber-Stearns on a successful proposal!