Restoring Natural Fire Regimes Can Yield More Water Downstream
Author: Biosramé et al., University of California, Berkeley (2019)
Geography: Western U.S.
Level of Detail: Quantitative benefits
Water Management Strategies: Forest thinning, Land Management
Specific Benefits or Trade-offs: Water Supply
Research from Yosemite National Park provides a new understanding of one of the potential benefits of restoring a forest’s natural fire regime: more downstream flow and less water stress. Since the 1970s one watershed in Yosemite has been managed to allow for a natural fire regime, leading to a reduction in vegetation density across the basin. Their findings from modeling differences in water stress and downstream flow suggest that fire suppression would have led to increased water stress and decreased downstream flows as compared to the current management strategy of allowing for natural fires.