October 2015 Featured Article
Bureau of Land Management is Encouraging Public and Private Partnerships in the Pursuit of New Resilient Landscape Practices
Extreme weather patterns are not easy to predict, and in the case of California’s drought, can prove to be as equally costly as dangerous. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), in 2014 the State experienced 757 wildfires totaling over 6,400 acres of scorched landscape. Most recently, at the beginning of September of this year a 100+ acre fire erupted in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Burlington County following weeks of dry weather. As more climate extreme events become increasingly frequent, municipalities will need more than disaster relief to keep its communities protected.
In the wake of changing climates, the Bureau of Land Management announced a grant opportunity through its Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) to sponsor projects that explore and better define the concept of resilient landscapes. Preventing natural disasters by incorporating enhancements to a surrounding natural environment is continuing to gain importance in hard mitigation planning. Eligible projects will meet this objective from a variety of approaches to stimulate new and creative thinking regarding the concept, definition, management and measurement of landscape resiliency.
The main goals in resilient landscapes include: restoring and maintaining landscapes; ensuring lands are resilient to fire-related disturbances, in accordance with management objectives; actively managing the land to make it more resilient to disturbance, in accordance with management objectives; and, recognizing “wildland fire” as an essential ecological process and natural change agent, which may be incorporated into the planning process and wildfire response.
Two of the state’s most vital ecological assets encompass over 40 percent of New Jersey’s municipalities. The Pinelands National Reserve alone comprises 1.1 million acres of forested land across 56 municipalities. Another 88 municipalities fall within the Highlands Region totaling over 860,000 acres of the state’s northern third.
Funding enables municipalities, educational institutions and community organizations the opportunity to explore new solutions in hazard mitigation through experimental design. JFSP award recipients will be able to develop a research plan with testable hypotheses and demonstrate the application of resilience concepts across broad landscapes. Awardees are encouraged to work in collaborative cross-disciplinary teams, including both ecological and social scientists.
Proposals can include a wide variety of approaches to stimulate new and creative thinking regarding the concept, definition, management and measurement of resilient landscapes. Proposals should directly involve fire and fuels managers in the proposed research, and demonstrate how the proposed activities will advance innovative thinking that enhances fire, fuels and resource managers’ abilities to achieve more resilient landscapes. Applications are due November 13, 2015 electronically via the JFSP website (www.firescience.gov).
Published October 2015.