February 09, 2022

Changing Climate, Fire Regimes, and the Future of Western American Forests

Event Details

Date & Time

Wednesday, Feb 09, 2022 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Event Link

Watch the Livestream of this event


Environmental Studies & Sciences 

co-sponsored by

Gonzaga University Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment
Faculty Senate Speaker Series




Hemmingson Auditorium or via Livestream (link to be sent out on the day of the event)



Event Type & Tags

  • Global Impact
  • Academics
  • Sustainability

About This Event

Changing climate, fire regimes, and the future of western North American forests

When a forest burns in a fire, should we expect it to recover as it was before? Changing climate and disturbance regimes can overcome the resilience of ecological systems, catalyzing enduring changes. In this talk I will synthesize a growing body of observations, evidence, and models highlighting how expanding wildfire activity, coupled with warming and drought, are driving enduring changes to western North American forests. In some cases these changes include long-term conversion to alternate and non-forested vegetation types. Given current trends and projected future climate, we should expect rapid, major, and essentially permanent losses and changes to many of our forests and the ecosystem services they provide. These changes compel new management paradigms, strategies and tactics that accommodate changing conditions, and shifts in public expectations and engagement for an era when the pre-fire forest may not return.


Dr. Jonathan Coop is a professor of Biology and ENVS at Western Colorado University. He is a plant community ecologist whose research, with many students and collaborators, revolves around forest dynamics in response to changing fire regimes and climate. He also works closely with land managers to develop and assess strategies for times of certain change of uncertain rate and magnitude.