Restored Fire Regimes
Once home to a variety of forest types, including oak woodlands and old growth conifer stands characterized by widely spaced, large diameter trees and frequent self-limiting, mixed severity wildfires, a century of forest management practices which depended on fire exclusionhave left many areas of the Western Klamath Mountains in a dense forest condition, These forests are in urgent need of ecological restoration treatments to restore fire process and function. Restoring fire processes will create resilient landscapes and ecosystems, providing integral resources and services to ecosystems and communities. These include improved water quality and yield, healthy streams and aquatic populations, increased wildlife and plant diversity, cultural revitalization and sustainable local economies.
Local tribes and the general public depend on our landscape for a variety of social, economic and ecological factors. Treatments proposed by the WKRP will produce sustainable beneficial outcomes, creating forests and communities that are more resilient to stressors, which range from recent extreme wildfires and invasive species infestations, to climate change and drought. With more than 90% of the 1.2 million acre WKRP area in publicly owned national forest lands, there is an opportunity to collaboratively pursue significant large-scale ecological forest restoration. The Western Klamath Mountains historically experienced fires on average every 3 to 15 years, and fires were self-limiting at much smaller geographic scales. The landscape today tells a story of the traditional human/fire relationships of our past – and can guide future fire management strategies. The Karuk Tribe refined these strategies over thousands of years to maximize diversity, resiliency, and resource production. The WKRP seeks to restore these practices, enhanced by western science, in order to restore and maintain these critical ecosystem processes. For more information on the history of fire in the Klamath Mountains please see the Fire Story page