Bridging Post-Wildfire Communication Gaps between Managers, Researchers, and Local Communities, including a Biological Soil Crust Case Study
Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department name when degree awarded
Mark W. Brunson
Mark W. Brunson
Eugene W. Schupp
Janis L. Boettinger
Kari E. Veblen
Ryan C. Bosworth
Immediately after a wildfire land managers act quickly to protect water supplies, soil stability, habitat, and forage. We don't currently understand how managers make trade-off decisions between social, political, and ecological factors in these tight timelines or if they are able to use new science. We do know ecosystems often benefit from local engagement, and new, scientifically-grounded methods that improve restoration efforts are needed. As post-wildfire timelines don’t often allow for outside input, I asked managers what they and stakeholders think about post-wildfire projects and what managers think about new science. I asked local citizens what they think about postwildfire projects. Social and political factors weighed heavily on most manager decisions and their ability to consider research. Managers were not very good at interpreting actual local citizen opinions, highlighting the need for communication.
In semi-arid and arid desert systems, biological soil crusts (BSC) provide soil stability, seed protection, and increase nutrients and water to plants. We don’t really know if restoration techniques that disturb biological soil crusts impact the success of projects. I asked managers if they thought BSC condition in post-wildfire projects is important and I conducted a preliminary greenhouse study to see if disturbing BSC impacted establishment of common restoration grasses and wildflowers. Most managers were not interested in BSC condition. Our greenhouse results suggest BSC disturbance may affect plant establishment, and follow-up field studies can be recommended.
Whitcomb, Hilary Louise, "Bridging Post-Wildfire Communication Gaps between Managers, Researchers, and Local Communities, including a Biological Soil Crust Case Study" (2017). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 5994.
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