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Research as the College of Forestry and Conservation

2014 Research Highlights

Improved Temperature Modeling Across Mountainous Landscapes

New research by University of Montana doctoral student Jared Oyler provides improved computer models for estimating temperature across mountainous landscapes. Collaborating with UM faculty co-authors Ashley Ballantyne, Kelsey Jencso, Michael Sweet and Steve Running, Oyler provided a new climate dataset for ecological and hydrological research and natural resource management.

Improved Temperature Modeling Across Mountainous Landscapes

How do fungi help plants grow in tropical forests?

New research published in Ecology Letters by PhD student Megan Nasto shows the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and phosphatase enzymes in helping nitrogen fixers acquire phosphorous from soil in tropical rain forests, contributing to a high abundance of nitrogen-fixing plants. 

How do fungi help plants grow in tropical forests?

CFC part of largest research award in UM history

CFC faculty members Winsor Lowe, Libby Metcalf and Cara Nelson are part of a recent $45 million award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This five-year research award will be used to help the Corps study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems.

CFC part of largest research award in UM history

UM Helps Plan Montana's Outdoor Recreation Future

Research from college faculty members Wayne Freimund, Alex Metcalf, Libby Metcalf, and Norma Nickerson lays the groundwork for Montana's new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, recently produced by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

UM Helps Plan Montana's Outdoor Recreation Future

Contribution of non-resident tourism to Montana's economy

In 2013, more than 11 million non-residents visited Montana, spending $3.6 billion in the state, according to research now published by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (link to pdf).

Contribution of non-resident tourism to Montana's economy

Climate Change Accelerates Trout Hybridization

A new article by researchers from the University of Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks asserts that climate warming is increasing the hybridization of trout in the interior western United States.

Climate Change Accelerates Trout Hybridization

Semiarid lands and global carbon uptake

New research co-written by Steve Running, University of Montana Regents Professor of Ecology, highlights the importance of semiarid ecosystems in a recent, record-breaking uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide.


New research on tropical nitrogen levels

A new paper co-written by four UM researchers shows that humans have more than double tropical nitrogen inputs. Post-doctoral researcher Ben Sullivan worked with CFC professor Cory Cleveland to look at the nitrogen cycle in tropical rain forests.


Steve Running lead author of new U.S. climate assessment

Steve Running, Regents Professor of Ecology, is a convening lead author on the forests chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment. The report, released May 6 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is required by Congress as an update on the current status of climate, observed changes and anticipated trends for the future in the United States.


New research on streamwater chemistry from wildlife biology director Winsor Lowe

Winsor Lowe, interim director of the wildlife biology program, co-wrote a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how streamwater chemistry varies across a headwater stream network.


How wildfires influence stream channels

Recent PhD graduate Kevin Hyde's work was published this week in the journal Geomorphology. Hyde and co-authors, including UM faculty Kelsey JencsoAndrew Wilcox, and the late Scott Woods, looked at how mountain stream channels incised following wildlfires and then intense rainfall.


Tourists contribute more than $3 billion to Montana's economy

New research from the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research finds that tourism contributed $3 billion to Montana's economy last year. More than 11 million people visited the state.


Converting land to agriculture reduces carbon uptake

Post-doctoral researcher Bill Smith and faculty members Cory Cleveland and Steve Running examined the impact that converting natural land to cropland has on global vegetation growth. They found that measures of terrestrial vegetation growth actually decrease with agricultural conversion, which has important implications for terrestrial carbon storage.


Diana Six's research on mountain pine beetle science and management policy

Professor Diana Six and co-authors analyzed what research gaps exist in informing management policy, specifically on whether timber harvests are effective at controlling bark beetles during outbreaks. 


Bicycle trips important to Montana's tourism economy

new study by the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research shows multi-day bicycle trips are a popular tourism activity in Montana; cyclists spend $75/day in Montana and stay an average of eight nights.


Large carnivore numbers and range declining worldwide

New research co-written by University of Montana scientists finds steep declines in the worldwide populations and habitat range of 31 large carnivore species. The analysis, published in Science, shows that 77 percent of the studied species – including tiger, lion, gray wolf, dingo, puma and American black bear – are decreasing in number.