CHI research is being conducted at across multiple UC NRS reserves as well as other protected lands across California. Ten study sites were selected to represent the climate gradient across California and a variety of ecosystems, while making the most of existing instrumentation and the engagement of faculty. The study sites consisted of nine UC NRS reserves and one UC Research and Extension Center.
Fire scorched nine NRS reserves during the summer of 2020. Eight reserves burned in wildfires resulting from lightning strikes. In addition, the fire at Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve was set by an arsonist, while the fire at Oasis de los Osos (a satellite reserve of the NRS’s James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve) was sparked by a car crash. The CHI research protocol, including drone flights and ground surveys, is now being conducted at all burned reserves to characterize the way native ecosystems recover from fire. Fire is becoming more frequent in California due to a warming and drying climate, making the understanding of fire recovery critical for informing conservation and land management practices.