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Advancing ecological science to support sustainable forest management.

Current Projects

Western Forest Initiative

By tracking the dynamics of trees, shrubs and woody debris in the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot (California, USA) and the Wind River Forest Dynamics Plot (Washington, USA), we hope to detect and understand subtle changes in forest composition, structure and function.  This research project offers experiential education for students and citizens: over 115 volunteers and students have contributed to date.

Like data?  We're tracking approximately 70,000 individually tagged and mapped woody stems.  Check out the YFDP Quadrat of the Day and WFDP Quadrat of the Day for a taste.

Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot: website Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot Facebook Link
Wind River Forest Dynamics Plot: website Wind River Dynamics Plot Facebook Link

Collaborators: Jim Lutz, Mark Swanson, James Freund

Cooperators: Smithsonian CTFS/SIGEO; USGS; Wind River Field Station

Fire Effects and Structural Development in Western Larch Forests

We are studying western larch forests with varying disturbance histories to test and refine ideas about forest structural development in mixed-severity fire regimes. Our study is anchored by sites with active fire regimes in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. These wilderness sites also serve as benchmark ecosystems to calibrate forest restoration treatments in the nearby Southwestern Crown of the Continent landscape restoration project.

Wilderness Society ecologist Travis Belote blogs about our 2011 field work in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Collaborators: Travis Belote

Forest Restoration in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent

We are investigating the long-term effects of forest restoration treatments in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent.

Collaborators: Cara Nelson, Travis Belote, Mary Manning, Jon Haufler, Cory Davis

Cooperators: Southwestern Crown Collaborative

Efficacy and Ecological Effects of Treatments to Restore Whitebark Pine 

Whitebark pine faces multiple stressors including climate change, fire exclusion, mountain pine beetle and the introduced pathogen white pine blister rust, yet little is known about the effectiveness of silvicultural treatments intended to restore and conserve this imperiled species.  We are studying past treatments to learn about their efficacy and ecological effects, including unintended consequences. 

Collaborators: Cara Nelson (PI), Anna Sala

Cooperators: Bob Keane, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station

Spatial Heterogeneity in Fire-Frequent Forests: Causes, Consequences, and Restoration

We are studying mechanisms of pattern formation, ecological consequences of spatial heterogeneity, and methods to incorporate spatial information into forest restoration treatments.

Collaborators: Derek Churchill