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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Increasing wildfire severity and frequency in the Western US are escalating social, ecological, and economic risks. Prescribed burning – the intentional application of fire to the landscape to achieve management goals – is a key adaptation strategy to reduce risks from wildfire; however, monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of prescribed burning remains a challenge. In addition, current models of ecosystem services (ESs) do not consider events like fire, despite the potential impacts. These knowledge gaps impede guidance on best management practices, which are urgently needed. In response, we propose to synthesize existing information on the impacts of prescribed fire on three critical ESs in Colorado and California: carbon sequestration, recreation, and water yield. We propose a working group that will employ co-production processes with regional stakeholders. We will produce harmonized datasets to evaluate the impact of prescribed fire and use these estimates to update ES models to include the impacts of prescribed and wildland fire. We will develop practitioner briefs and best practices guidance on prescribed burn implementation at the state level. Our results will identify co-benefits and tradeoffs from prescribed burning across multiple ES and directly benefit the wildfire management community by informing where, when, and for whom prescribed burning is effective.

Morpho Fire

Principal Investigator(s)

Laura E. Dee, Anna Lopresti

Project Dates

Start: September 1, 2022

End: August 31, 2024



Kate Brauman
University of Alabama
Becky Chaplin-Kramer
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Laura E. Dee
University of Colorado, Boulder
Cody Evers
Portland State University
Erin Hanan
University of Nevada, Reno
Morris C. Johnson
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Lilli Kaarakka
California Polytechnic State University
Jason Kreitler
US Geological Survey (USGS)
Alison Lerch
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Anna Lopresti
University of Colorado
Kyle Manley
University of California, Irvine
Holly Nowell
Tall Timbers
Isabella Oleksy
University of Wyoming
Jamie Peeler
University of Montana
Katherine Siegel
NOAA Climate and Global Change
Morgan Varner
Tall Timbers
Miguel Villareal
US Geological Survey (USGS)

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