The increasingly prescient threat of climate change and wildfire on California’s diverse and, in many cases, threatened ecosystems—from the forests of the Sierra Nevada to the chaparral of the San Gabriel Mountains–demands a targeted and collaborative approach to research. We understand that this approach will require the engagement of experts at leading institutions across the world in a way that accelerates solutions to the era’s most pressing wildfire and climate challenges. As such, we are excited to introduce the CWI@UCLA initiative, which aims to position UCLA as a hub for CWI’s climate- and wildfire-related research needs, while coordinating research efforts in the climate and wildfire spaces.
The work of this hub will be informed by three primary goals:
- A major initiative to develop modeling and prediction infrastructure that would build capacity for predictive services (e.g., predicting and integrating climate, wildfire, disturbance, and air quality metrics at a range of time scales, from seasonal to decadal), thus creating a modeling ecosystem for decision support.
- The creation of competitive two-year postdoctoral and graduate student fellowship programs at the university to support this collaborative approach. These positions will help to fulfill broader needs within the climate and wildfire research space by positioning CWI@UCLA as the central, driving force of solutions-oriented science and research. These programs will marshall critical research efforts consistent with the broader aims of CWI.
- Training a new generation of researchers in the wildfire and climate space, with deep knowledge in societally-relevant academic research and a robust network in professional and policy circles.
When fully realized, CWI@UCLA will further fulfill the vision of CWI to support collaborative initiatives aimed at building resilience to climate change and wildfire. Additionally, this initiative is—at its core—a fantastic representation of the collaborative, solutions-oriented action that we know is needed in our pursuit of climate and wildfire resilience in California and beyond. Further, balanced with CWI’s efforts to create a physical hub in Lake Tahoe, CWI@UCLA will help ensure representation of the diversity of California’s ecosystems as well as the people working to make them more resilient.