RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS



The affluence-vulnerability interface: intersecting scales of risk, privilege, and disaster

This paper examines vulnerability in the context of affluence and privilege. It focuses on the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm in California, USA to examine long-term lived experiences of the disaster. Vulnerability is typically understood as a condition besetting poor and marginalized communities. Frequently ignored in these discussions are the experiences of those who live in more affluent areas.

Commonly referenced wildland fire initiatives, programs, and networks

Numerous agencies, organizations, and collaboratives conduct activities related to wildland fire. Understanding all of their different roles and objectives can be confusing. This fact sheet provides brief descriptions of some of the most common wildland fire initiatives, programs, networks, and other efforts taking place around the country. 

Wildfire: toward understanding its effects on wildlife

This short synthesis highlights findings of the national Fire and Fire Surrogates Study, which conducted an integrated network of experiments at 13 sites across the United States, many of which took place on National Forest lands.  Results suggest that more species increased in number than decreased. For example, researchers reported that populations of western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) increased following prescribed fire; whereas mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) decreased in response to thinning treatments. The positive and negative responses of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), gray-collared chipmunks (Tamias cinereicollis) and least chipmunks (T. minimus) varied among the sites; but the overall biomass of small mammals increased in response to the fire treatments. Researchers also found that small mammals’ responses were related to fire uniformity: the more heterogeneous the post-fire landscape, the greater the proportion of positive responses.

Landscape-level prescriptions: a new foundation for restoration planning

This brief was developed to help guide collaborative landscape planning efforts, through use of a framework of seven core principles and their implications for management of fire-prone interior forest landscapes.

Key findings included: 

  • Historically, forests were spatially heterogeneous at multiple scales as a result of interactions among succession, disturbance, and other processes.
  • Planning and management are needed at fine to broad scales to restore the key characteristics of resilience.
  • Landscapes must be viewed as socio-ecological systems that provide services to people within the limited capacities of ecosystems.
  • Development of landscape-level prescriptions is the foundation of restoration planning. 

Short-term impacts of fire-mediated habitat alterations on an isolated bighorn sheep population

This study found that prescribed fires conducted under favorable conditions (2011) induced potentially positive bighorn responses including high survival and increased use of treated areas. Fires during drought conditions were more widespread with little vegetative response (2012) and coincided with increased bighorn mortality in spring 2013. 

Sexual harassment and gender discrimination in wildland fire management

This Association for Fire Ecology position paper is an organization-wide initiative with two objectives: to determine the prevalence of these two issues throughout the profession, including management, education, and research; and to provide a set of principles and actions that are strongly recommended for implementation in order to foster organizational cultures of respect, equity, and parity.

Human land-use has greater effects on forests than climate change

This KQED Science article indicates that since 1600, the way humans have used land in the Sierra has had more effect on fire behavior than climate change. Valerie Trouet, associate professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona and lead coauthor of a study about humans and fire, suggests that land managers and owners can affect fire behavior through activities that make forests more resilient.

Spatial variability in tree regeneration after wildfire delays and dampens future bark beetle outbreaks

Climate change is altering the frequency and severity of forest disturbances such as wildfires and bark beetle outbreaks, thereby increasing the potential for sequential disturbances to interact. Interactions can amplify or dampen disturbances, yet the direction and magnitude of future disturbance interactions are difficult to anticipate because underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We tested how variability in postfire forest development affects future susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks, focusing on mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) in forests regenerating from the large high-severity fires that affected Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in 1988. We combined extensive field data on postfire tree regeneration with a well-tested simulation model to assess susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks over 130 y of stand development. Despite originating from the same fire event, among-stand variation in forest structure was very high and remained considerable for over a century. Thus, simulated emergence of stands susceptible to bark beetles was not temporally synchronized but was protracted by several decades, compared with stand development from spatially homogeneous regeneration. Furthermore, because of fire-mediated variability in forest structure, the habitat connectivity required to support broad-scale outbreaks and amplifying cross-scale feedbacks did not develop until well into the second century after the initial burn.

Duff distribution influences fire severity and post-fire vegetation recovery in sagebrush steppe

In this study, field sampling and analysis were conducted across environmental gradients following the 2007 Tongue-Crutcher Wildfire in southwestern Idaho to determine the conditions most influential in post-fire vegetation recovery patterns. Duff depth and fire severity were determined to be the most influential factors affecting post-fire vegetation response. 

Hierarchical population structure in greater sage-grouse provides insight into management boundary delineation

This study found two levels of hierarchical genetic subpopulation structure. These subpopulations occupy significantly different elevations and are surrounded by divergent vegetative communities with different dominant subspecies of sagebrush, each with its own chemical defense against herbivory. We propose five management groups reflective of genetic subpopulation structure. These genetic groups are largely synonymous with existing priority areas for conservation. On average, 85.8 % of individuals within each conservation priority area assign to a distinct subpopulation. Our results largely support existing management decisions regarding subpopulation boundaries.

Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage threats to sagebrush ecosystems, Gunnison sage-grouse, and greater sage-grouse in their eastern range: a strategic multi-scale approach

This report provides a strategic approach developed by a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies interagency working group for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems, Greater sage-grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution and relative abundance of sage-grouse populations to address persistent ecosystem threats, such as invasive annual grasses and wildfire, and land use and development threats, such as oil and gas development and cropland conversion, to develop effective management strategies. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with modeled sage-grouse breeding habitat probabilities to help decisionmakers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at both landscape and site scales. Areas for targeted management are assessed by overlaying matrix components with Greater sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation and Gunnison sage-grouse critical habitat and linkages, breeding bird concentration areas, and specific habitat threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of target areas for management and the most appropriate management actions. A similar approach was developed for the Great Basin that was incorporated into the Federal land use plan amendments and served as the basis of a Bureau of Land Management Fire and Invasives Assessment Tool, which was used to prioritize sage-grouse habitat for targeted management activities.

Short and long-term effects of pinyon-juniper encroachment on hydrology

This report found that experiments conducted the first few years after tree cutting suggest not much had changed after tree removal treatments. The longer-term results are preliminary, but suggest that hydrologic function and resistance to erosion generally increase where treatments enhance grass, forb, and litter cover in the interspaces between trees and shrubs. 

Recovering lost ground: effects of soil burn intensity on nutrients and ectomycorrhiza communities of ponderosa pine seedlings

This paper reports that community results from burn treatments can mean an increase in patchy spatial distribution of ectomycorrhiza (EMF). Quick initiation of EMF recolonization is possible depending on the size of high intensity burn patches, proximity of low and unburned soil, and survival of nearby hosts. 

Occupancy and abundance of predator and prey: implications of the fire-cheatgrass cycle in sagebrush ecosystems

This research suggests that widespread environmental change within sagebrush ecosystems, especially the fire-cheatgrass cycle (e.g., invasion of cheatgrass and increased fire frequency) and human land disturbances, are directly and indirectly influencing ground squirrels and badgers.

Mowing Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) cover effects across northern and central Nevada

This study found that to encourage perennial grasses over annual herbaceous species in Wyoming big sagebrush communities, mowing is better suited to locales lacking exotic annuals and retaining ample cover of perennial grasses and sagebrush of smaller size.

Identifying key climate and environmental factors affecting rates of post-fire big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) recovery in the northern Columbia Basin, USA

This study found that post-fire recovery of big sagebrush in the northern Columbia Basin is a slow process that may require several decades on average, but faster recovery rates may occur under specific site and climate conditions

Beyond the single species climate envelope: a multifaceted approach to mapping climate change vulnerability

 In this article, authors were able to integrate complex interactions, and visualize the distribution of risk across broad spatial scales, providing land managers and researchers a valuable tool for climate change vulnerability assessments and action plans.

Quaking aspen in Utah: integrating recent science with management

Quaking aspen in Utah: integrating recent science with management

This article reviews trends in aspen science and management, particularly in Utah and highlights recent studies continuing the tradition to keep rangeland managers informed of important developments, focusing on aspen functional types, historical cover change and climate warming, ungulate herbivory, and disturbance interactions.

Does prescribed fire promote resistance to drought in low elevation forests of the Sierra Nevada, California, USA?

This study compared trees in 6- to 28-year-old burned and unburned sites in the third drought year in mixed conifer forests at low elevation in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks in California, USA.  Common conifer species found in the burned plots had significantly reduced probability of mortality compared to unburned plots during the drought.  Stand density was significantly lower in burned versus unburned sites, supporting the idea that reduced competition may be responsible for the differential drought mortality response.  

Nest-site selection and reproductive success of greater sage-grouse in a fire-affected habitat of northwestern Nevada

This study monitored the habitat-use patterns of 71 radio-marked sage-grouse inhabiting an area affected by wildfire in the Virginia Mountains of northwestern Nevada during 2009–2011. Sage-grouse selected micro-sites with greater shrub canopy cover and less cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) cover than random sites. Total shrub canopy, including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and other shrub species, at small spatial scales (0.8 ha and 3.1 ha) was the single contributing selection factor to higher nest survival. 

Emergence and early survival of early versus late seral species in Great Basin restoration in two different soil types

This study found that early seral natives generally outperformed late seral natives when growing with exotics and had earlier emergence timing, although results differed among functional groups and soil types. Survival probabilities, however, did not differ between the early and late seral mixes when growing without exotics. 

Local ecological knowledge and fire management: what does the public understand?

This study used survey data from three 2010 wildland fires to understand how ecological knowledge and education level affected fire management perception and understanding. Results suggest that education may play a mediating role in understanding complex wildfire issues but is not associated with a better understanding of fire management.

Science and traditional ecological knowledge strategic plan

The Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Strategic Plan guides the Great Basin LCC’s science program over a three to five year period (2015-2019). The plan outlines the LCC’s priority topics and how they will be updated, describes the process to determine annual focal topics and activities, and outlines how the LCC will implement, evaluate and adjust the science program. 

A field guide for rapid assessment of post-wildfire recovery potential in sagebrush and pinon-juniper ecosystems

This field guide provides a framework for rapidly evaluating post-fire resilience to disturbance, or recovery potential, and resistance to invasive annual grasses, and for determining the need and suitability of the burned area for seeding. The framework identifies six primary components that largely determine resilience to disturbance, resistance to invasive grasses, and potential successional pathways following wildfire, as well as the information sources and tools needed to evaluate each component. 

Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 1. Concepts for understanding and applying restoration

This handbook discusses concepts surrounding landscape and restoration ecology of sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse that habitat managers and restoration practitioners need to know to make informed decisions regarding where and how to restore specific areas.

Pros and cons of tree removal by shredding & Using ecological variables to define restoration success

In SageSTEP newsletter Issue 27,  researchers explore some of the principal effects shredding may have on sagebrush steppe fuel-beds, and potential fire behavior and fire severity. Also in this issue, is a discussion about conducting restoration activities with specific objectives in mind in order to be successful.

Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 2. Landscape level restoration decisions

This handbook will guide decision makers through the important process steps of identifying appropriate questions, gathering appropriate data, developing landscape objectives, and prioritizing landscape patches where potential sites for restoration projects may be located. Once potential sites are selected, land managers can move to the site-specific decision tool to guide restoration decisions at the site level.

Identifying key climate and environmental factors affecting rates of post-fire big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) recovery in the northern Columbia Basin, USA

Post-fire recovery of big sagebrush in the northern Columbia Basin is a slow process that may require several decades on average, but faster recovery rates may occur under specific site and climate conditions. Read full article.

Scanning the future of wildfire: resilience ahead...whether we like it or not?

This research brought together futures researchers and wildfire specialists to envision what the future holds for wildfire impacts and how the wildfire community may respond to the complex suite of emerging challenges. The consensus of the project’s foresight panel suggests that an era of resilience is ahead: but that this resilience may come either with a very high cost (after some kind of collapse), in a more systematic way (that is, if the wildfire community plans for, and fosters, resilience), or something in between. Read the Fire Science Digest.

Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: a comprehensive science synthesis

This assessment establishes the scientific foundation needed to manage for drought resilience and adaptation. Focal areas include drought characterization; drought impacts on forest processes and disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire; and consequences for forest and rangeland values.

Foundational literature for moving native plant materials in changing climates

This bibliography reflects the growing interest in assisted migration, the intentional movement of plant materials in response to climate change, and provides a central foundation for collaboration in generating research questions, conducting studies, transferring and acquiring data, expanding studies to key species and geographic regions, and guiding native plant transfer in changing climates.

Invasive species and climate change (Chapter 7)

This review discusses how climate change may modify invasive species and the tools used to manage them. It will help guide development of important research questions, the answers to which will better position us to devise and apply meaningful management options to address invasive species in both present and future climates. 

Biological soil crust response to late season prescribed fire in a Great Basin juniper woodland

Compared with unburned plots, the biomass of cyanobacteria was diminished under juniper and sagebrush; it was reduced in the interspaces in both burned and unburned plots. Nitrogen fixation rates declined over time in juniper plots and interspaces but not in sagebrush plots. Although fire negatively affected some biological soil crust organisms in some parts of the early-seral juniper woodland, the overall impact on the crusts was minimal. Read the full article.

Projections of contemporary and future climate niche for Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis): a guide for restortation

Researchers modeled the climatic envelope for subspecies wyomingensis for contemporary and future climates (decade 2050). This model and its predictions can be used as a restoration-planning tool to assess vulnerability of climatic extirpation over the next few decades. Read full article.

Vegetation response to pinon and juniper tree shredding

Researchers determined vegetation response to fuel reduction by tree mastication (shredding) or seeding and then shredding. Findings suggested that shredding or seeding and then shredding should facilitate wildfire suppression, increase resistance to weed dominance, and lead toward greater resilience to disturbance by increasing perennial herbaceous cover. Read the full article.

Wildfires, once confined to a season, burn earlier and longer

Fires, once largely confined to a single season, have become a continual threat in some places, burning earlier and later in the year, in the United States and abroad. They have ignited in the West during the winter and well into the fall, have arrived earlier than ever in Canada and have burned without interruption in Australia for almost 12 months. Read the full New York Times article.

Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Conference: All Hands, All Lands

Proceeding recordings are available from the February 2016 Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Conference co-sponsored by the Great Basin Consortium and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Utah State University. Registration (free) is required to view the recordings. Post-conference survey results and feedback are also available. 

Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: Vol. 2 for fire behavior specialists, researchers, and meterorologists

This report synthesizes existing extreme fire behavior knowledge in a way that connects the weather, fuel, and topographic factors that contribute to development of extreme fire behavior. It focuses on the state of the science but also considers how that science is currently presented to the fire management community, including incident commanders, fire behavior analysts, incident meteorologists, National Weather Service office forecasters, and firefighters. 

Living with fire: how social scientists are helping wildland-urban interface communities reduce wildfire risk

Community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) are an effective way to reduce wildfire risk in the U.S. wildland urban interface (WUI), but most WUI communities have no such plan in place. Community support and involvement are necessary for CWPPs to succeed. WUI communities reflect a wide range of social characteristics, preventing an effective “one-size-fits-all” approach to CWPP creation. Read the full Bulletin.

Opportunities to utilize traditional phenological knowledge to support adaptive management of social-ecological systems vulnerable to changes in climate and fire regimes

 The field of adaptive management has been embraced by researchers and managers in the United States as an approach to improve natural resource stewardship in the face of uncertainty and complex environmental problems. Integrating multiple knowledge sources and feedback mechanisms is an important step in this approach. Our objective is to contribute to the limited literature that describes the benefits of better integrating indigenous knowledge (IK) with other sources of knowledge in making adaptive-management decisions. Specifically, we advocate the integration of traditional phenological knowledge (TPK), a subset of IK, and highlight opportunities for this knowledge to support policy and practice of adaptive management with reference to policy and practice of adapting to uncharacteristic fire regimes and climate change in the western United States.

Read full article.

Synthesizing best-management practices for desert tortoise habitats

Persistence of natural populations of the federally listed desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Mojave and western Sonoran Desert partly depends on habitat quality. Tortoises must obtain
protection (provided by native shrubs offering cover and shade), soil microsites free from harmful contaminants for digging burrows, digestible and nutritionally rich forage (typically provided by certain annual and perennial forbs), and drinking water provided by habitats. 

This review synthesizes best-management practices for reducing non-native grasses while increasing native species and desirable features in desert tortoise habitats. 

Read more from the California Fire Science Consortium research brief.

 

Effectiveness and longevity of wildland fire as a fuel treatment

In the western US, many landscapes have experienced substantial fire activity in recent decades. This study informs decision making by fire managers. Knowing that fire occurrence, size, and severity are limited by recent wildfires should provide greater flexibility and confidence in managing fire incidents and managing for resource benefit. Specifically, the findings from this study can be used by fire managers to help predict whether a previous fire will act as a fuel treatment based on fire age, forest type, and expected weather.

Learn more from the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network research brief.

Restoring desert biocrusts after severe disturbances

Applying salvaged biocrust material to severely disturbed soil rapidly reestablished favorable biocrust characteristics and stabilized soil more than doing nothing. This is likely a useful restoration strategy when unavoidable soil disturbances are planned and there are opportunities to salvage material.

Learn more from the California Fire Science Consortium research brief.

Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory

Great Basin Coordination Center issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for the western and northern Nevada, southeastern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho regions on July 7, 2016.

 Low fuel moisture coupled with heavy fine fuel loading after a long period of dry and hot weather over w and n NV, se OR, and sw ID point to continued potential for extreme fire behavior. This threat is especially pronounced in locations with sagebrush with heavy fine fuel loading in the understory; particularly when fires occur in conjunction with sustained winds greater than 20
mph.

Read the full report.

 

 

Collaborative science to foster native plant conservation and restoration

FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 11, 2016 – USFS, RMRS News Release -

The health of ecosystems across the West is increasingly impacted by many factors including climate change and drought. This is challenging land managers with a pressing need for more science-based integrated restoration methods. To meet that challenge, scientists from the three western U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service’s research stations – Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain – established a collaborative group called the Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science.

Read the USFS News Release

Vulnerability of cattle production to climate change on U.S. rangelands

Vulnerability of cattle production to climate change on U.S. rangelands

We examined multiple climate change effects on cattle production for U.S. rangelands to estimate
relative change and identify sources of vulnerability among seven regions. Climate change
effects to 2100 were projected from published models for four elements: forage quantity, vegetation type trajectory, heat stress, and forage variability. Departure of projections from a baseline (2001–2010) was used to estimate vulnerability. Projections show: (1) an increase in forage quantity in northerly regions, (2) a move toward grassier vegetation types overall but with considerable spatial heterogeneity, (3) a rapid increase in the number of heat-stress days across all regions, and (4) higher forage variability for most regions. Results are robust across multiple elements for declining production in southerly and western regions. In northern and interior regions, the benefits of increased net primary productivity or more grassy vegetation are mostly tempered by increases in heat stress and forage variability. Because projected directions of change differed, use of projections for only one element will limit our ability to anticipate impacts and manage for sustained cattle production.

Fact Sheet: Assessing impacts of fire and post-fire mitigation on runoff and erosion from rangelands

Fact Sheet: Assessing impacts of fire and post-fire mitigation on runoff and erosion from rangelands

This fact sheet provides an overview of the immediate and short-term hydrologic impacts of fire on infiltration, runoff, and erosion by water, and of the effectiveness of various mitigation treatments in the reduction of runoff and erosion in the years following the fire.

Fact Sheet: Establishing big sagebrush and other shrubs from planting stock

Fact Sheet: Establishing big sagebrush and other shrubs from planting stock

 

Bareroot or container seedlings can be used to quickly re-establish big sagebrush and other native shrubs in situations where direct seeding is not feasible or unlikely to succeed. Guidelines are provided for developing a planting plan and timeline, arranging for seedling production, and installing and managing outplantings. 

Fact Sheet: Post-fire grazing management in the Great Basin

Fact Sheet: Post-fire grazing management in the Great Basin

 

This Fact Sheet provides guidelines for maintaining productive sagebrush steppe communities in grazed areas after fire. The focus is on plant communities that, prior to fire, were largely intact and had an understory of native perennial herbaceous species or introduced bunchgrass, rather than invasive annual grass. 

Secretarial Order 3336 - The Final Report: An integrated rangeland fire management strategy

Secretarial Order 3336 - The Final Report: An integrated rangeland fire management strategy

The Strategy outlines activities for implementation prior to both the 2015 and 2016 Western fire seasons. It also outlines longer-term actions to implement the policy and strategy set forth in the Order, including the continued implementation of approved actions associated with the Strategy. 

Discovery and innovation: the 2013 Joint Fire Science Program Progress Report

Discovery and innovation: the 2013 Joint Fire Science Program Progress Report

For over fifteen years, the Joint Fire Science Program (www.firescience.gov) has funded discovery and innovation used every day by wildland fire managers. 

The highest compliment for our work happens when research discoveries are adopted and integrated as standards for fire management professionals. 

JFSP now sponsors the Regional Knowledge Exchange. Each Exchange is focused on establishing relationships and discovering priorities of stakeholders interested in wildland fire in their region. 

Fire and fuels management contributions to sage-grouse conservation: a status report

Fire and fuels management contributions to sage-grouse conservation: a status report

Within big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities, expansion of invasive plants and changes in wildfire patterns have emerged as the greatest threat to sage-grouse habitats, particularly in the western part of its range. 

Secretarial Order 3336 - The Initial Report

Secretarial Order 3336 - The Initial Report

The report outlines immediate actions to address the threat of rangeland fire in the Great Basin region, prior to the onset of the 2015 Western wildfire season. The report also identifies several related actions and activities to begin in 2015, with full implementation in 2016 and beyond. 

A Field Guide for Selecting the Most Appropriate Treatment in Sagebrush and Piñon-Juniper Ecosystems in the Great Basin

A Field Guide for Selecting the Most Appropriate Treatment in Sagebrush and Piñon-Juniper Ecosystems in the Great Basin

This field guide identifies seven primary components that largely determine resilience to disturbance, as well as resistance to invasive grasses and plant succession following treatment of areas of concern. An evaluation score sheet is included for rating resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses and the probability of seeding success.

Special SageSTEP Issue of Rangeland Ecology and Management

Special SageSTEP Issue of Rangeland Ecology and Management

This special issue contains a collection of open access papers that describe the short-term results of SageSTEP projects that include fire and fire surrogate treatments, piñon and juniper treatments, soil water availability, multi-site evaluation, etc.

Spatially explicit modeling of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat in Nevada and northeastern California—A decision-support tool for management

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, hereafter referred to as “sage-grouse”) populations are declining throughout the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem, including millions of acres of potential habitat across the West.

Utah's catastrophic wildfire reduction strategy

This program is Utah's interpretation of the National Cohesive Strategy, and takes a holistic approach to effectively reducing the frequency and impact of damaging wildfires. During the initial implementation period, the focus of the program is on fuel treatment projects to restore and maintain resilient landscapes. 

Presidential Memorandum - Creating a federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators

"Given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator losses, it is critical to expand Federal efforts and take new steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. These steps should include the development of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen engagement." 

Ecology (REM 221)

Major topics covered by the course include the physical environment, how organisms interact with each other and their environment, evolutionary processes, population dynamics, communities, energy flow and ecosystems, human influences on ecosystems, and the integration and scaling of ecological processes through systems ecology. Computer-based materials are used extensively for guided independent learning of ecology.

Course: Plant ecophysiology (REM 560)

Functional responses and adaptations of individual plant species to their environment, emphasizing morphological and physiological mechanisms that influence plant establishment, the physical environment, below- and above-ground productivity, and plant interactions such as competition, herbivory, and allelopathy.  3 credits.

Course: Fire ecology and management (FOR 426)

Integrated fire-related ecological effects of fire on vegetation, soils, and air quality; natural and changing role of fire in forests, woodlands, shrublands and rangelands; influence of global change including climate and invasive species; fire as a management tool; application to current issues.  3 credits.

Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and greater sage-grouse – A strategic multi-scale approach

This Report provides a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and Greater Sage-Grouse (sage-grouse) that focuses specifically on habitat threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes.

Bees In The Desert: Plant Reproduction After Fire

A new fact sheet based on the research of Andrew Lybbert (MS, Brigham Young University) is now available. Lybbert works to better understand how fire affects the reproductive success of native perennial plants and the pollinating insect communities they depend on. 

Fire, Small Mammals & Plant Rehabilitation

Mar 19, 2014
Small mammals can have a big impact when it comes to rehabilitating land after a fire. Tiffanny Sharp (MS candidate, BYU) has spent several years trapping animals like the deer mouse at Rush Valley and Merriam’s kangaroo rat at Lytle Ranch to determine what kind of impact they have. A new fact sheet on her research is now available from Desert FMP. 

Read it now.

Examining Historical And Current Mixed-Severity Fire Regimes In Ponderosa Pine And Mixed-Conifer Forests Of Western North America

There is increasing recognition from landscape-scale assessments that, prior to any significant effects of fire exclusion, fires and forest structure were more variable in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests of western North America.

Livestock Grazing Effects On Fuel Loads For Wildland Fire In Sagebrush Dominated Ecosystems

Herbivory and fire are natural interacting forces contributing to the maintenance of rangeland ecosystems. Wildfires in the sagebrush dominated ecosystems of the Great Basin are becoming larger and more frequent, and may dramatically alter plant communities and habitat.