NEVADA CITY, Calif. September 27, 2018 – Daniel Shaw Senior Environmental Scientist for the Sierra District of California State Parks and Christy Sherr Wildlife Biologist and Education Coordinator for the John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute will be speaking at Seaman’s Lodge on October 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm.  This event is sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Group of the Sierra Club and the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society.
Dan will be speaking about Long Term Forest Recovery on California State Park Lands in the Sierra Nevada and Implications for Preservation and Conservation using as a case study California State Parks in the Sierra Nevada to discuss ongoing recovery on lands that were once among the most degraded in California.
David Beesley, in his book “Crow’s Range, An Environmental History of the Sierra Nevada”, compares the impact of logging, mining, grazing, and slash burning in the Sierra Nevada between the 1840’s and 1880’s to an ice age or glaciation event in terms of complete landscape alteration.  Parks inherited lands that were at the epicenter of this disturbance, including mining lands such as Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, Plumas Eureka State Park, and Empire Mine State Historic Park, as well as forested Parks in the Lake Tahoe Basin that were completely logged over.  Ongoing forest and landscape recovery under a stewardship approach that includes both preservation and conservation has implications for current public land management debates.  As one example, I present data from a long-term forest management program in the Lake Tahoe Basin that includes prescribed burning as well as protective stewardship of natural recovery (letting nature recover unimpeded).  Both prescribed burning and natural regeneration appear to be promoting forest recovery, and consideration of different management approaches could benefit current Sierra Nevada forest restoration planning efforts in the face of alarming climate change and wildfire concerns.
Christy will be presenting The Surprising Benefits of Beetles and Wildfires – Wildlife Nurseries
Mixed intensity fires and native beetles create some of the most productive and critical habitats for California birds and wildlife, comparable or better than even late-succession or “old growth” forest.  Large, dense patches of standing dead trees are preferred by a host of plants, insects, mammals, and keystone species such as Black-backed Woodpeckers. Surprisingly, that includes even many of our most threatened and endangered species such as spotted owls and pacific fishers. She will share why so many wildlife species benefit from forest conditions created by beetles and high intensity fire.
The film “Searching for Gold Spot: The Wild after Wildfire” is a 30 minute film created by Field Biologist, Toxicologist, Poet, and Film-maker Maya Khosla, illuminating the importance of mixed-intensity fire for montane forests and wildlife of the American West. The film chronicles current research and conservation efforts of a team of biologists focusing on rare Black-backed Woodpeckers native to the Sierra Nevada-Cascades Region. The woodpeckers have recently been petitioned for special status species listing (threatened or endangered). While searching for woodpeckers in these charcoal forests, the research team encounters a plethora of wildlife – deer, black bears, bobcats, a myriad of birds including woodpeckers, bluebirds, wrens, and raptors, and even nesting Northern goshawks and spotted owls! Travel along on a journey of discovery with the research team as they explore fire and beetle-affected forests for the rare black-backed woodpecker throughout the American West