For our last week of West Wednesdays I’d like to share an article that does an excellent job encapsulating the potential of, and future challenges for, collaborative forest restoration and management in the West.
This piece profiles the work of the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project (DCFP), funded through the USFS Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), to fire-safe the community of Sisters, OR using mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. According to the article, these efforts helped spare the town from fire damage during this particularly destructive season. This was achieved, in part, by introducing low-intensity ground fires, the types of ignitions well-suited for the area’s Ponderosa and lodgepole pine forests.
Though this project was a success, the ongoing challenges faced by the DCFP are similar to those faced by SCALE collaborative groups, and others across the West. How can collaboratives and their partners achieve results at the necessary scale and pace? How do we address the issue of limited infrastructure (e.g. roads, mills, etc.) while performing restoration work? How can limited funding cover the costs of these projects, or how can novel sources of funding can be introduced to the world of forest restoration?
We at the Sierra Institute look forward to engaging SCALE collaboratives and their partners on these topics at our upcoming in-person meeting next week.
Leana, Sierra Institute Natural Resources Social Science Intern