An interorganizational team of scientists has identified “opportunity hot spots” across the U.S. West where forest managers could target their efforts to mitigate the risk of wildfire-related carbon loss. As both climate change and wildfires have intensified, so too have concerns about the release of carbon that has been stored by trees for decades or even centuries, according to the researchers, who came together from federal, academic and nonprofit institutions. With the goal of reducing such loss and benefiting adjacent communities, they mapped out the optimal spots for mitigation efforts — publishing their findings in Environmental Research Letters. “Our approach can help land management agencies plan where to invest in proactive forest treatments that simultaneously reduce wildfire-caused carbon loss and protect communities from wildfire,” lead author Jamie Peeler, a landscape ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montana, said in a statement.
Additional coverage in The Conversation by Jamie Peeler, University of Montana: The US is spending billions to reduce forest fire risks – we mapped the hot spots where treatment offers the biggest payoff for people and climate