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CityLab Daily: How to Make California’s Forests Fire Resilient

Also today: Wealthy investors are not the answer for Black neighborhoods, and Rome’s recovery sparks a fight between cafes and cars.

Dana Walsh, a USDA forester, supervised the replanting of about 8,000 acres of trees decimated by the King Fire that tore through El Dorado County in California in 2014.

Dana Walsh, a USDA forester, supervised the replanting of about 8,000 acres of trees decimated by the King Fire that tore through El Dorado County in California in 2014.

Photographer: Max Whittaker/Bloomberg

Hot topic: With a huge swath of California woodlands deforested from severe wildfire every year, some foresters are experimenting with an unusual approach to replanting trees: in groups, to mimic the gaps of cleared-out vegetation that decades of frequent, low-severity fire would create in a more mature forest.

Emerging science suggests that this cluster planting method could make the forests more wildfire-resilient. But some practitioners see this as counterproductive, preferring instead the more longstanding norm of planting trees individually, at even intervals, in order to maximize growth.