How California has addressed the impacts of the wildfires that have scorched the Golden State’s wildlands in recent years — and what more can be done — is the subject of the ninth annual Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Conservation Symposium entitled “After the Fires: Recovering California’s Wild Spaces.”
The public is invited to attend this virtual event from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 5. The program will feature scientists, biologists and land managers from the Central Coast and beyond. Registration is required and costs $25. (Students with school IDs are admitted free to the virtual session.) Register at www.sbbg.org/classes-events.
“The focus is on how we can get engaged to help California wildlands recover after fire,” said Dr. Denise Knapp, the garden’s director of conservation. “Diverse native vegetation is essential for providing slope stabilization, watershed protection, wildlife habitat and other benefits that we rely on. We can all help to make sure our wildlands don’t turn into big bare patches or seas of weeds.”
This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Carla D’Antonio, the 2022 recipient of the garden’s Pritzlaff Conservation Award, who addresses “When and Why Would We Need Post-Fire Restoration.”
Eight other speakers will cover impacts on plants and animals, approaches to habitat restoration, regional efforts to build resilience and more.
The symposium concludes with an audience Q & A with all the panelists and discussion of what society can do next.
“We selected Dr. D’Antonio for the Pritzlaff Conservation Award for her top-notch science, inspiring teaching and mentorship, and dedicated conservation leadership,” said Dr. Knapp. “Her forward-thinking approach to ecology has integrated ecological theory with practical and on-the ground conservation, habitat management and restoration.”
Speakers come from UCSB; the U.S. Forest Service; the National Park Service; Reed College in Portland, Ore.; South Coast Habitat Restoration in Carpinteria and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Specific topics include post-fire impacts on steelhead trout habitat, resilience of big cone Douglas Fir trees, use of mapping to inform restoration and engage the public, native and invasive plant responses and management actions, shrubland habitat restoration, and building resilience in our communities.
The annual Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Conservation Symposium, established in 2012, addresses topics that are critical to environmental conservation in the region as well as nationally and internationally. It returns after a one-year gap in 2021, which happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.