Sharing the road: Managers and scientists transforming fire management

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The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture have long-term goals to reintroduce fire into U.S. ecosystems at ecologically relevant spatial and temporal scales. Building on decades of collaborative work, a Master Participating Agreement was signed in March 2017 to increase overall fire management capacity through training and education. In October 2017, The Nature Conservancy hosted a cross-boundary fire training, education, research, and restoration-related event for 2 weeks at Sycan Marsh Preserve in Oregon. Eighty people from 15 organizations applied prescribed fire on over 1,200 acres (490 ha). Managers and scientists participated
in the applied learning and training exercise. The exercise was a success; operational and research objectives were met, as indicated by multiagency, multidisciplinary fire research, and effectiveness monitoring. This paper describes a paradigm shift of fire-adapted, cross-boundary, multiagency landscape-scale restoration. Participants integrated adaptive management and translational ecology so that applied controlled burning incorporated
the most up-to-date scientifically informed management decisions. Scientists worked with practitioners to advance their understanding of the challenges being addressed by managers. The model program has stimulated an exponential increase in landscape scale and ecologically relevant dry forest restoration in eastern Oregon. Collaboration between managers and scientists is foundational in the long-term success of fire-adapted restoration.  Examples of effects of prescribed fire on ecosystem services in the project area, such as increased resilience of trees in drought years, are also provided.

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