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Climate & Wildfire Institute2023-01-30T20:41:52+00:00

Who We Are

The Climate & Wildfire Institute (CWI), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, connects science to public policy and decision-making to accelerate solutions to a fast-changing climate. As a boundary organization, we bring communities and cross-sector leaders together, putting science into action to build climate and wildfire resilience. Bringing climate and wildfire science to policy and decision-makers speeds the implementation of science-based approaches at the regional and local levels, a critical component to ensuring solutions are practical and accessible to even our more vulnerable communities.

Working At The Boundaries

While wildfires are by-and-large positive ecological processes, changing conditions have created more opportunities for wildfires that are catastrophic to human and ecological communities alike. Because of this, we need robust and sustained science and data infrastructure that allows for timely, accurate, and grounded policy solutions. These solutions are nothing without implementation, though; therefore, we aim to build a conduit between science, policy makers, and practitioners, to ensure that our data tools and knowledge sharing are useful to those doing the work to implement resilience measures on the ground. Learn more here.

We embrace an strategic operational approach to ensure we deliver on the following:

INFORMATION

We facilitate the creation and dissemination of information for a new era of wildfires—and for the meaningful work that will help mitigate their impacts.

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE

We encourage and embrace knowledge exchange and the integration of different ways of thinking about forest resilience and stewardship.

OPEN ACCESS

We lead and coordinate open source solutions that can be used by agencies, policy makers, and land managers to improve the pace and scale of forest resilience projects.

DATA INFRASTRUCTURE

We create data infrastructure that reflects the dynamism of a changing climate and forest conditions.

CLIMATE CONNECTIONS

We know we can’t tackle fire in a silo, and that fire issues are deeply connected to larger climate issues. As such, we maintain a broader climate lens in the work we do.

Our Initiatives

CWI’s initiatives are founded on the need to increase the pace and scale of projects that build forest resilience while reducing the impacts of catastrophic wildfires. To that end, we support and facilitate greater information sharing, primarily through open-source data integration, which can drive faster decision making and policy creation and, thus, implementation. Greater information sharing also extends to the conversations we are having around wildfire and climate change—including, importantly, the reorientation and revitalization of management practices that are informed by Indigenous land stewardship.

Building greater forest resilience isn’t something that happens through conversation alone; our projects exist to not only facilitate knowledge sharing, data integration, and essential cultural shifts, but also find the most meaningful ways to bring the resulting information to communities and land managers. Creating pathways for greater access to this information will refine agency ability to more rapidly build resilience where it matters—in fire-adapted communities and ecosystems across California and the West. 

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FOREST DATA HUB

The lack of integration and management of data across agencies, institutions, research centers, and NGOs hinders our ability to analyze and use the valuable data we have available to us. To more effectively (and quickly) inform policy options and alternatives, the Forest Data Hub is being developed to utilize an information modeling approach that is informed by on-the-ground conditions and models. In pursuit of this goal, we are collaborating with stakeholders to identify data requirements, create a glossary of terms and essential-use cases for the Forest Data Hub. The resulting community-based blueprint will harness the connections between scientists, data producers and land managers to create pathways for a scalable, sustainable and more effective data hub.

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THE STEWARDSHIP PROJECT: A PARTNERSHIP OF INDIGENOUS & WESTERN SCIENCE

Current national resource policies cannot keep pace with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfire and drought. Additionally, these policies often fail to incorporate the lessons learned from the stewardship and land management practices of Indigenous peoples. We are supporting a partnership of tribes and western science to consider how current federal forest policy can incorporate insights from tribal practices to better steward the landscapes of the American West.

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Policy Projects

How can we quantify what resilience actually means at the community level? What metrics are available to define resilience? We are co-sponsoring an effort to develop a comprehensive and measurable list of indicators of forest and wildland resilience. The effort is engaging stakeholders from across the state to define what resilience means and, most importantly, what it looks like on the ground in local ecosystems.

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Interagency Treatment Tracking

We are helping to accelerate the development of an interagency forest treatment tracking system and spatial database that includes recently completed and planned treatments across the state of California. We are also helping design strategies that reduce barriers to the accurate reportage of fuel reduction and restoration efforts. As these strategies are developed, we are prioritizing that the resulting data infrastructure be both scientifically sound and technically feasible, so that it can be effectively utilized by the many agencies, NGOs and landowners that engage in fuels reduction projects.

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Regional Resource Kits

While projects like the interagency tracking system and forest data hub will integrate essential data to inform resilience initiatives, CWI also recognizes that that data needs to reach those on the ground in a meaningful, scalable and sustainable way. Our Regional Resource Kits project aims to connect data to the boots-on-the-ground; we will utilize and integrate existing data to inform resilience metrics, which can then be reflected to land managers through resource kits. The kits will assist in prioritizing potential treatment areas based on anticipated impact, and will ultimately aid land managers in making the greatest impact in building resilience in their communities.

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Our Partners

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