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Habitat Gardening In Fire Prone Landscapes

November 3, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Destructive wildfires are becoming larger, hotter, and more frequent. Since 2000, an average of 7.1 million acres have burned across the US, more than double the average acreage that burned in the 1990s. In 2020, wildfires burned 10.3 million acres in the US, and roughly 60% was in California (> 4 million acres), Oregon (> 1 million acres), and Washington (> 700,000 acres). At the same time, more people are choosing to live adjacent to fire-prone wildlands. In California alone, at least 25% of our 11 million residents live in the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI), where development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildlands. One consequence of this development is an accelerating loss of native biodiversity through habitat fragmentation. The home hardening and defensible spaces that we need to create to live safely near wildlands can also lead to habitat fragmentation.

We can compensate for clearing and building in the WUI by including native plants and wildlife resources in our landscaping. Native plants and wildlife habitat in the human “built environment” effectively create wildlife bridges, or oases, to support pollinators and many of the species they interact with. In this talk, we will first briefly review home hardening and defensive space essentials for wildfire safety. In the remainder of our time we will explore characteristics, installation, and maintenance of native plants (keeping fire safety/readiness in mind) to mitigate for the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation. The wildfires we have been experiencing are traumatic; but we can use lessons learned to help communities become more wildfire ready and resilient, while supporting the native wildland habitats that we love. Adrienne and Rachel will be giving examples of planting strategies using the specific plants that will be given away November 6th in Paradise.

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 841 2011 5006


Adrienne Edwards, PhD, is a botanist, plant ecologist, garden designer, and environmental consultant. She began her botanical odyssey in the Southeast, spent time botanizing in the Midwest, and since 2006 has lived and worked in northern California. With over 30 years of experience teaching, researching, and consulting, plants continue to inspire her passion. She is currently a faculty lecturer at California State University, Chico.

Rachel Schleiger, MS, is a plant ecologist who specializes in restoration ecology. She has lived in the Sierra Nevada Foothills most of her life. Her family and property survived the most deadly and destructive Western fire on record, the 2018 Camp Fire. Over the last 3 years she has developed curriculum to teach about wildfire, both in-person and online through Butte College. She is currently a faculty lecturer at both Butte College and California State University, Chico.