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While increased fire activity has threatened Pacific Northwest forests, University of Idaho researchers have found a silver-lining: the proportion of unburned areas critical for post-fire recovery has remained unchanged.
Arjan Meddens and Crystal Kolden, faculty in the College of Natural Resources, led a team that analyzed nearly 2,300 fires in the Inland Northwest over a 30-year period, from 1984-2014. They examined trends in the formation of unburned islands of vegetation during wildfires in a new study published in the journal Ecosphere today.
Northwest - Fire - Activity - Years - Fires
The Northwest has seen greater fire activity in recent years, with more fires and larger areas burned,due to warming climate, fire exclusion and land cover changes. Yet, the researchers found that the amount of unburned forest located inside the fire perimeter, also known as "fire refugia," has kept pace.
"From a conservation perspective, fire refugia are important to maintaining biodiversity, seed sources and overall landscape heterogeneity," said Meddens, a research assistant professor in the...
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