Pepperwood is a leader in bringing science and community together to forge solutions to our region’s most pressing conservation challenges

Building Climate and Fire Resilience Initiative

Climate change and how it will affect our natural world has emerged as the dominant issue of this decade and beyond. Global warming temperatures and changing weather patterns have given rise to unprecedented conditions -- extreme heat, more intense storms, droughts, sea level rise, and wildfires -- all generated by a warming trend just shy of 2° Fahrenheit. If we do not change course to reverse our emissions trajectory within the next ten years, the warming is projected to triple by this century's end.

As we work to understand and adapt to our climate-warmed environment, Pepperwood offers a unique laboratory for exploring adaptation strategies for our future. Since 2010, when we launched the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3), we have worked with end users to co-produce and interpret high resolution climate data. Bridging the spectrum of basic to applied research, Pepperwood’s data is already serving hundreds of agencies and organizations, including CAL FIRE, throughout California. And, on the heels of two mega-fires in two years that burned 90 percent of the preserve, we are uniquely positioned to document and analyze post-fire impacts on plant and wildlife and to recommend best land management practices that mitigate fire damage and build resilience for the future.

The purpose of the Building Climate and Fire Resilience Initiative is to increase our community's resilience to climate and fire hazards, while maintaining or enhancing the health of our watersheds and ecosystems. With this Initiative, we will continue to fill data gaps, leveraging our Sentinel Site to measure, map, and model climate variability over time and space. We will use the preserve to conduct and evaluate adaptive demonstration projects for prescribed fire, conservation grazing, forest thinning, native plant restoration, and post-fire remediation.
Outreach for this Initiative will include disseminating practical information and best practices to restore a “healthy” fire regime in our region, providing TBC3 technical support to land and water managers via collaborations and contracts, and sharing local climate and fire science with teachers, students, private landowners, and public agencies. As a result, our community will be able to take preventive action, instead of responding to “climate emergencies,” and to save lives, avoid property damage, and limit liabilities. We will be able to validate “nature-based” solutions for climate and fire resilience and provide a model for “Mediterranean-type” ecosystems world-wide.

Fire Mitigation and Forest Health

Pepperwood is informing long-term monitoring and management strategies for our region’s forests with a focus on better understanding relationships between climate change, drought, and fire. Partners include the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, University of California, and CAL FIRE. Visit our Fire Mitigation and Forest Health webpage to learn more.

Ecological Restoration

Through a comprehensive adaptive management approach, our Research and Preserve Management team—with the help of incredible volunteers—are actively restoring the ecology of our 3,200 acre preserve. Restoration programs include a conservation grazing program for grasslands, an oak woodlands enhancement program, erosion control for watershed protection, and invasive species control. Visit our Ecological Restoration webpage to learn more.

Mayacamas to Berryessa Connectivity Network (M2B)

The Mayacamas to Berryessa Connectivity Network (M2B) is a collaboration of scientists and land managers that works to preserve the health of land, water, and plant and animal life across 10 counties in Northern California’s inner Coast Ranges. In 2018, M2B completed a climate connectivity assessment that determined the existing state of habitat and watershed health throughout the region spanning the Mayacamas Mountains to the Snow Mountain-Berryessa National Monument. The result of our work is a series of high-resolution maps that illustrate corridors—across land and along streams—and show how each corridor enhances landscape resilience to climate change.

Learn more about the M2B project and the importance of corridors that provide climate resilience: Field Notes Blog -- Why Wildlife Corridors? AND be sure to visit the M2B page on Databasin.

Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3)

TBC3 is a dynamic interdisciplinary applied research collaboration focused on understanding how climate change may impact the natural resources of Northern California’s Coast Range, and conversely, how protected natural areas can increase the resilience of our local communities to climate hazards. Visit the TBC3 website.

Wildlife Cameras and Habitat Corridors

Pepperwood serves as the hub for the North Bay stakeholders convened via the Bay Area Critical Linkages project. As the first North American Wildlife Picture Index site, we share our expertise in the deployment of wildlife camera arrays in concert with agencies and citizen scientists. We serve as a place for training and convening experts with and private and public landowners committed to keeping our region wildlife-friendly for years to come.

Native Advisory Council

Pepperwood is grateful to be partnered with local tribal elders through our Native Advisory Council. Council members provide important insights into cultural and land management practices that inform our research and education programs. Learn more about the Council.