Michigan State University's Forest, Carbon, and Climate Program (FCCP) is adding fire ecology and management to its curriculum

In article "E-Learning Program expanding to incorporate fire ecology studies", Lauren Noel outlines the addition of fire ecology and management to the FCCP curriculum as part of a suite of existing courses in the FCCP.

E-Learning Program expanding to incorporate fire ecology studies

By: Lauren Noel 

Previously, FCCP has taken a comprehensive look at understanding forest carbon and how it should be incorporated into the forest management decision-making process. This new direction builds on these higher-level themes and takes a deep dive into relationships between wildland fire, forest management, and forest carbon. 

This initiative, led by Asia Dowtin, Andrew Vander YachtLauren Cooper,and Kylie Clay from the Department of Forestry, will provide a synthesis of research to date as well as regionally specific management recommendations as climate change continues to drastically alter fire regimes and associated impacts on forest carbon stocks.

“We are seeing a lot of interest outside of traditional forestry spaces, for instance, among policymakers or even those in the oil industry and other non-forest sectors,” Clay said. “There is a demonstrated and widespread interest in understanding how fires might impact uncertainties in forest carbon (for the sake of the land and landowners, as well as carbon markets).”

There are currently no existing educational programs that help landowners navigate the complex and dynamic interactions between fire, carbon, climate, and forests. Recognizing this gap in educational opportunities, the program will assemble an expert panel to formulate a nationally focused, interactive e-module, as well as regionally focused modules. 

“The nature of the topic requires diverse expertise. It’s a unique opportunity to be able to develop something like this and not surprising that there isn’t a course like this already,” Clay said. 

The panel of experts will span 12 different extension institutions and 11 topic-related institutions, such as climate hubs, research centers, and nonprofit organizations. They will combine their collective expertise, identifying knowledge gaps and review curriculum, which will then be examined and critiqued. 

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