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News Release 18-029

Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests

Too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests stress water supplies, scientists say

A burning forest.

The 2013 Rim Fire, the largest Sierra Nevada fire to date, cost more than $127 million to fight.

Credit: G. Dickman


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A tower in a forest measures the exchange of water and carbon between forest and atmosphere.

A tower at NSF's Southern Sierra CZO measures the exchange of water and carbon between forest and atmosphere.

Credit: Roger Bales, UC Merced


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A restored forest in the foreground, with a dense, unthinned forest in the background.

A restored forest grows in the foreground, with a dense, unthinned forest in the background.

Credit: Eric Knapp, USFS


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A low-intensity, controlled burn of scrub growth in a forest.

Low-intensity controlled burns reduce fire spread and result in small changes in forest water use.

Credit: Eric Knapp, USFS


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A thinned mixed-conifer forest one year after a high-intensity fire in the Tahoe National Forest.

Mixed-conifer forest one year after a high-intensity fire in the Tahoe National Forest.

Credit: Roger Bales, UC Merced


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A thin mixed-conifer forest one year after a medium-intensity fire in Yosemite National Park.

Mixed-conifer forest one year after a medium-intensity fire in Yosemite National Park.

Credit: Roger Bales, UC Merced


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