The California spotted owl

Featuring H. Anu Kramer
Thursday, February 17  — 7 p.m. via Zoom

Wildfires swept through California again in the summer of 2021. While forest thinning and controlled burns may help reduce the risk of future fires, laws that protect old-forest species that are associated with dense canopies and big, old trees often slow the pace and scale of these treatments. However, these species are simultaneously threatened by high-severity fires as well, leading to a lose-lose scenario. The California spotted owl is one such old-forest species, yet like other Sierra Nevada natives, it evolved under a frequent lower-severity fire regime, begging the question: “How do different kinds of fire influence the California spotted owl?” We examined owl behavior in a high-severity mega-fire, as well as in fire-restored National Parks and found consistent preferences regarding fire severity and patch size that inform future forest and fire management throughout the region and influence the future of these owls as well as human communities and the Sierra Nevada ecosystem as a whole.

About Our Speaker

Anu Kramer received her PhD in 2016 from the University of California – Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, where she specialized in fire ecology, GIS, and remote sensing. She has been a Researcher with the Peery Lab at the University of Wisconsin – Madison since 2018, where she works primarily with California spotted owls, applying her knowledge of fire, GIS, and remote sensing.

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