Sustainable Defensible Space is the area focusing on the first 100 feet around your home. It aims to increase resistance of structures to wildfire, safeguard firefighters’ lives, improve conservation values and protect California’s natural heritage.
It starts with the home and the use of fire-resistant materials and architectural features.
It extends beyond the home with well-maintained fire-wise landscape to reduce ignition risk and slow fire-spread.
It promotes and supports native vegetation and wildlife, and local ecosystems.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) in Southern California is a biodiverse, fire-adapted landscape that experiences unnaturally high fire frequencies that threaten the resiliency of the ecosystem and the safety of local communities.
The Southern California region, including SMMNRA, is one of the most fire-prone environments in the world and has more homes and area burned per decade than any other region of the US.
To increase wildfire resilience and maintain habitat quality in the Southern California Wildland Urban interface (WUI) it is necessary to:
• Reduce human ignitions and the frequency of large fires
• Manage the WUI to maintain or re-establish native vegetation
Our project focuses on the second objective – offering solutions to improve resilience and resource conservation values, and resistance of structures to wildfire loss for developed properties in the SMMNRA by improving management by homeowners of their defensible space zone.
This platform introduces Sustainable Defensible Space (SDS) as the area around the home extending 100 feet from the home itself. The condition of this space is critical not only to increasing resistance of structures to wildfire loss and safeguarding firefighters’ lives but also to improving conservation values and protecting California’s natural heritage. The landscaping choices in this area provide the greatest opportunity for improved habitat conservation with its associated ecosystem benefits such as increased carbon storage, biodiversity, slope stability and water conservation.
Resource Conservation District
of the Santa Monica Mountains
The mission of the RCDSMM is to promote land stewardship and resource conservation through ecological research, conservation planning and design, habitat restoration and environmental education, while adhering to the highest standards of transparency and accountability as a public agency. Learn more at www.rcdsmm.org.
California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate
Funding for Guidance for Sustainable Defensible Space Landscaping in the SMMNRA and Southern California was provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program – a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
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