Reforestation after the Fountain Fire in Northern California: An Untold Success Story

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Forest fires have been burning “hot” across the United States and particularly in the West in recent years. So, too, will the debate on postfire management strategies. In this article, we present a successful reforestation project after a catastrophic fire in 1992. Sixteen years later, most lands are covered with vigorous young forest stands. These regenerated stands have sequestered a large amount of atmospheric carbon, although still not to the level of previous stands. Furthermore, these managed stands will provide wood to consumers and support the local economy in the future. In contrast, adjacent lands without reforestation are fully occupied with shrubs and a few hardwood tree species, going through a long process of natural succession. We conclude that in this particular case active reforestation is the most effective method to quickly restore forest cover.

Keywords: carbon storage and sequestration; forest fires; plant diversity; reforestation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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