Collaborative Seminar: Post May 2022 Montano Fire Analysis


Date: 2022/08/11

Author(s): Chavez K., McCollough R., Shaw D.

Publication: Video Link


The Middle Rio Grande’s cottonwood gallery forest, bosque, is an ecological anomaly. Beloved as it might have come to be, its senescing trees and stressed connection to river water and shallow groundwater challenge its continued existence. As flooding abates as an ecological driver and climate and fire ascend, accompanied with the persistent spread of fire-adapted invasive and exotic trees, maintaining a resilient cottonwood forest, even in patch form, is at best challenging. A May 2022 relatively high severity bosque fire in Albuquerque just south of the Montaño Bridge illustrated each of these points, though it also permits an opportunity to respond in creative ways to reclaim habitat and high priority forest components. We describe the conditions at the fire site, an area known locally as "the deep dark woods," as they are two months post-fire and suggest a series of management actions that could address immediate public safety concerns as well as short and long term ecological goals. Furthermore we provide a possible framework for monitoring and adaptive management activities to improve the chances for project success.

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