Post fire tree regeneration and resiliency has been affected by climate change as reported by Science Daily. Researchers have analyzed 1,500 forest regions in five states over the past three decades and have concluded that post fire tree regeneration (a key indicator of forest resiliency), has declined significantly. Due to ongoing climate change in the 21st century, a considerably hotter environment persists in today’s world. This and other factors are the culpable reasons why we see forest fires so frequently in regions like Southern California. The research team behind this study led by Colorado State University stated that after a major wildfire, forest regions are taking longer than usual to regenerate, if they regenerate at all.
The National Forest Foundation gives us some insight of how forest regions regenerate after an uncontrolled wildfire. NFF suggests that forest regions regenerate and adapt after an uncontrolled wildfire by four mechanisms: Trees in fire prone regions develop thick bark because thick tree barks don’t have the propensity to catch fire easily. Fire induced sprouts is another survival strategy forest regions use to regenerate after a wildfire. Trees with extensive root systems can manage to regenerate because dormant buds are protected underground regardless of what occurred above ground. Serotinous cones is another defense tool used by forest regions to regenerate after a wildfire. The encapsulated cones are heat dependent and hang high up on trees. After a wildfire sweeps through a region, the heat generated by the fire causes these cones to open and gravity and wind power distributes the seedlings throughout the region. Fire activated seeds are yet another defensive mechanism used by forest regions to regenerate growth. In fire prone regions, trees produce seeds with a though outer coating that only germinate (begin to grow after a period of dormancy) after a fire has passed through. These seeds can lay dormant for several years waiting on the proper time to come into action. To combat the effects of climate change, Science Daily suggests that forest managers may want to plant trees in fire prone regions that can adapt to today’s climate. It is evident now more than ever that we need to make changes in our everyday environment that well help mitigate the effects of climate change.