Changing strategies in a changing climate

Foresters, water advocates, land managers meet in Colorado to share ideas on adapting to new tough realities in Western landscapes

Hundreds of professionals gathered May 1-4 in Fort Collins, CO at the Cross-Boundary Landscape Restoration conference to learn the about new forest treatment practices and the challenges facing everyone working to restore prescribed burns to historically fire-adapted lands.

About 300 people from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states gathered May 1-4 in Fort Collins, CO for the Cross-Boundary Landscape Restoration conference hosted by the Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes (SWERI). James Calabaza (left) of Trees, Water, And People and Tony S. Cheng, executive director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, give opening remarks.
All photos by Maddie Wilson, Colorado State University

The conference was hosted by the Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes (SWERI), which includes the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute (FWRI) housed at New Mexico Highlands University. Among the questions people discussed:

How is climate change affecting what scientists once knew about restoring healthy forests?

How can local governments, land managers and community leaders best work together to promote healthy forests, reduce risks and help communities recover from wildfires?

How do practitioners promote prescribed fires to communities as necessary for healthy forests after rare escaped burns cause wildfires like the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon fire of 2022?

The conference focused on how millions of acres of forest can best be treated in the face of drought, rising temperatures, and expanding communities.

Find out more about the work of the SWERI and its three institutes: CFRI, ERI, and FWRI.

Some of the many partners who supported the workshop and engage in the science and hands-on projects of restoring healthy forests are:

Forest Stewards Guild

National Forest Foundation

Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Southern Rockies Fire Science Network

SWCA Environmental Consultants

Trees, Water, and People

Western States Reclamation