Fire and Forests
In the Sierra Nevada considerable debate surrounds the management of land following wildfire. After over a century of fire suppression and possible effects from climate change, the area affected by wildfire has been increasing in the Sierra in recent years. Wildfires help shape the future landscape for decades following the event.
In 2009, Point Blue's Sierra Nevada Program began a study of the avian community in post-fire habitats in the Plumas and Lassen National Forests in Northeastern California. We aim to assess the influence of post-fire conditions on bird abundance and cavity nest use over space and time and feed this information back to forest managers in order to maintain avian diversity and ecosystem health.
Our focal species: Mountain Quail, Lewis' Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Mountain Bluebird, Western Bluebird, MacGillivray's Warbler, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, Chipping Sparrow, and Fox Sparrow.
Post-wildfire habitats are not catastrophic wastelands; they are a unique component of the ecosystem that supports a diverse, abundant and valuable wildlife community that should be considered in planning post-fire management. There is a growing need to understand the value of the habitats created by wildfire and the critical elements within burned areas.
Visit our Sierra Nevada Avian Monitoring Information Network website for more information on study design, methods, results, partners, and resources for our work with fire and forests.