ALBUCHERKE, New Mexico – Over the past few years, we have witnessed the devastation that forest fires can cause in this country. However, when fires are not active, there are people on the ground who are researching and studying ways to restore our forests, but also to prevent devastation. This information will now be disseminated through a federal database in New Mexico.

Alan Barton, director of the Institute for Reforestation and Watershed, says the fires should be burning, but not in such a devastating way.

“You know people see fires like Dixie Fire in California. There have been eight or nine fires in California over the past five years on an area of ​​more than 250,000 acres. Huge fires, ”Barton said.

Years of firefighting efforts have affected the way our forests work. Now the federal government is getting involved, allocating $ 3 billion in January to help contain these fires. Part of that money will go to a national database maintained by the New Mexico Forestry Institute.

“The federal government is paying close attention to really capturing our forests. It is more environmentally friendly to manage our forests and carry out the treatments needed to truly restore healthy environmental conditions in the forests, and to restore fire through prescribed burns, ”Barton said.

New Mexico, which created its database a few years ago, is ahead of the game. One of the architects of the project is Katie Whitnall, a GIS specialist in forest restoration and watershed in New Mexico. In essence, they are expanding the scale of a database that already exists in New Mexico.

“The idea was that all these different institutions in New Mexico were looking for how they could see what everyone else on earth was doing,” Whitnall said. “We have data from the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Resources Management, the State Land Office, the New Mexico Department of Forestry, they’re kind of big, but we also have a lot of data from tribes and municipalities.”

It will now be expanded to include information and research from 49 other states.

“It allows you to look at what everyone is doing across the fence line, from your property or just jurisdiction, and really create a bigger result,” Whitnall said.

Barton notes that this database has the potential to change reforestation by expanding access.

“It’s one big piece of the puzzle,” Barton said. “When you talk about forest fires, you have to think about what you’re going to do before the fire, what you’re going to do during a forest fire.” forest fire and what you are going to do after the forest fire. I think this database will really help develop the capacity that we need to be able to monitor forests in different ways. ”

Source link