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Forests 2016, 7(4), 77; doi:10.3390/f7040077

Climate Change Refugia, Fire Ecology and Management

1
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Yves Bergeron and Sylvie Gauthier
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract

Early climate change ideas warned of widespread species extinctions. As scientists have probed more deeply into species responses, a more nuanced perspective emerged indicating that some species may persist in microrefugia (refugia), including in mountainous terrain. Refugia are habitats that buffer climate changes and allow species to persist in—and to potentially expand under—changing environmental conditions. While climate and species interactions in refugia have been noted as sources of uncertainty, land management practices and disturbances, such as wildland fire, should also be considered when assessing any given refugium. Our landscape scale study suggests that cold-air pools, an important type of small-scale refugia, have unique fire occurrence, frequency, and severity patterns in frequent-fire mixed conifer forests of California’s Sierra Nevada: cold-air pool refugia have less fire and if it occurs, it is lower severity. Therefore, individuals and small populations are less likely to be extirpated by fire. Active management, such as restoration and fuels treatments for climate change adaptation, may be required to maintain these distinctive and potentially important refugia. View Full-Text
Keywords: mixed conifer forest; arid forest; fire ecology; fire management; refugia; climate change; vulnerability mixed conifer forest; arid forest; fire ecology; fire management; refugia; climate change; vulnerability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilkin, K.M.; Ackerly, D.D.; Stephens, S.L. Climate Change Refugia, Fire Ecology and Management. Forests 2016, 7, 77.

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