Thinning Forests, Prescribed Fire Before Drought Reduced Tree Loss
By UC Davis
Thinning forests and conducting prescribed burns may help preserve trees in future droughts and bark beetle epidemics expected under climate change, suggests a study from the University of California, Davis.
The study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, found that thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-2016.
“By thinning forests, we can reduce water stress and make forests more resilient to drought and climate change,” said the study’s lead author, Christina Restaino, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy when the study was conducted.