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In June and July of 2007, the Angora Fire rapidly burned approximately 3,100 acres in the southwestern corner of the Lake Tahoe basin, displacing residents forced to evacuate, destroying hundreds of homes and commercial buildings, and severely altering the landscape. It was truly a catastrophic event for many Tahoe residents.
But how did this fire affect the surviving/returning vegetation and wildlife of the area? Across the burn area there was considerable variation in 1) fire intensity and related damage to trees and other vegetation, and 2) post-fire restoration treatments and management activities. Further, because much of the fire occurred in the wildland-urban interface, there existed a unique opportunity to study the differing effects of the fire in "wild" versus "developed" contexts. Finally, pre-fire wildlife data had already been collected from the burn area by Pat Manley (USFS - Pacific Southwest Research Station), as part of previous research projects. A unique research opportunity was seized!
Since 2007, TINS biologist Will Richardson has worked with Pat Manley to (in collaboration with the California Tahoe Conservancy and a team from USFS/University of Montana) design and implement a study to monitor and evaluate the effects of the above-mentioned variables on the vegetation, bird, and small mammal communities within the Angora Fire area. In 2009, we significantly increased our efforts to document the numeric, distributional, and behavioral responses by cavity-nesters, both primary (e.g. woodpeckers) and secondary (e.g. bluebirds), to these changing resources. In 2010, our attention to the community of cavity nesters was extended even further with the help of graduate student Gina Tarbill (UC Davis), who is studying this system for her Master's degree.
Research is ongoing, contingent on funding. Additional details can be found HERE and HERE, or for more information, contact
Copyright 2010 Tahoe Institute for Natural Science
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