RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS



Comparing USFS and stakeholder motivations and experiences in western collaboration

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This study involved a statewide survey of participants in Oregon forest collaboratives to examine
differences in motivations, perceptions of success, and satisfaction among Forest Service participants (“agency participants”), who made up 31% of the sample, and other respondents (“non-agency”) who represent nonfederal agencies, interest groups, citizens, and non-governmental groups. This study found that agency participants differed from non-agency participants. They typically had higher annual incomes, and were primarily motivated to participate to build trust. However, a majority of all respondents were similar in not indicating any other social or economic motivations as their primary reason for collaborating. A majority also reported satisfaction with their collaborative— despite not ranking collaborative performance on a number of specific potential outcomes highly. Together, this suggests that collaboration in Oregon is currently perceived as successful despite not achieving many specific outcomes.

Comparing the US National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) with recorded fire occurrence and final fire size

This study seeks to examine the relationships between a set of NFDRS fire danger indices (Fire Danger Ratings, Staffing Level and the Ignition Component) and measures of fire activity (fire occurrence and final fire size) across the entire conterminous US over an 8-year period.

Human presence diminishes the importance of climate in driving fire activity across the US

This analysis relating climate variables to historical fire activity across the United States showed substantial variability in the importance of different seasonal temperature and precipitation variables and of climate overall in explaining fire activity.

Ecosystem restoration: recent advances in theory and practice

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Debate as to whether restoration is feasible is coupled to long-standing disputes regarding the definition of restoration, whether more-damaged lands are worthy of restoration efforts given limited financial resources, and ongoing conflicts as to whether the novel ecosystem concept is a help or a hindrance to restoration efforts.

Germination predictions to inform seeding potential: comparing cheatgrass and potential revegetation species

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Using a wet thermal time model for germination prediction, this study estimated progress toward germination (PTG) of 31 seedlots (10 species) as a function of hourly seedbed temperature (> 0 °C) when soils were above a water potential of −1.5 MPa.

Wind erosion of post-fire landscapes

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This paper presents a case study to demonstrate the ability of the modeling framework to capture the onset and dynamics of a post-fire dust event and then use the modeling framework to estimate particulate matter (PM) emissions from burn scars left by wildfires in U.S. western sagebrush landscapes during 2012.

Woody plant encroachment mitigated differentially by fire and herbicide

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This study aimed to quantify a direct treatment to reduce or slow down woodland expansion in an experimental rangeland in central Oklahoma, United States under three treatments: 1) herbicide, 2) fire with herbicide, and 3) control (no fire, no herbicide) within areas classified as “open grassland” in 1979. 

Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning

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Models explained much of the variability between predictions and manual measurements, and yet it is expected that future applications could produce even better results by reducing some of the methodological sources of error that we encountered.

Analysis of the effects of slope, vegetation density, and ground surface roughness on travel rates for wildland firefighter escape route mapping

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This study compared resultant travel rates to LiDAR-derived estimates of slope, vegetation density and ground surface roughness using linear mixed effects modelling to quantify the relationships between these landscape conditions and travel rates.

Pinyon and juniper encroachment into sagebrush ecosystems impacts distribution and survival of greater sage-grouse

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Collectively, these results provide clear evidence that local sage-grouse distributions and demographic rates are influenced by pinyon-juniper, especially in habitats with higher primary productivity but relatively low and seemingly benign tree cover.

Pretreatment tree dominance and conifer removal treatments affect plant succession in sagebrush communities

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This study found that to retain the shrub, especially sagebrush, components on a site and increase ecosystem resilience and resistance through increases in tall grasses, treatment should occur at low to mid tree dominance index (TDI) using mechanical methods, such as cutting or mastication

Next-generation restoration for sage-grouse: a framework for visualizing local conifer cuts within a landscape context

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In this paper, optimization models successfully identified areas with low conifer canopy cover, high resilience and resistance to wildfire and annual grass invasion, and high bird abundance to enhance sage-grouse habitat. The inclusion of mesic resources resulted in further prioritization of areas that were closer to such resources, but also identified potential pathways that connected breeding habitats to the late brood-rearing habitats associated with mesic areas. Areas identified by optimization models were largely consistent with and overlapped ongoing conifer removal efforts in the Warner Mountains of south-central Oregon. Land ownership of preferential areas selected by models varied with priority goals and followed general ownership patterns of the region, with public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and private lands being selected the most. The increased availability of landscape-level datasets and assessment tools in sagebrush ecosystems can reduce the time and cost of both planning and implementation of habitat projects involving conifer removal. Most importantly, incorporating these new datasets and tools can supplement expert-based knowledge to maximize benefits to sagebrush and sage-grouse conservation.

Critique of the historical-fire-regime concept in conservation

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In North America, decisions about how and when to apply prescribed fire are typically based on the historical-fire-regime concept (HFRC), which holds that replicating the pattern of fires ignited by lightning or preindustrial humans best promotes native species in fire-prone regions. This study found that the practice of inferring historical fire regimes for entire regions or ecosystems often entails substantial uncertainty and can yield equivocal results; ecological outcomes of fire suppression are complex and may not equate to degradation, depending on the ecosystem and context; and habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and other modern factors can interact with fire to produce novel and in some cases negative ecological outcomes. Although the HFRC is a valuable starting point, it should not be viewed as the sole basis for developing prescribed fire programs. Rather, fire prescriptions should also account for other specific, measurable ecological parameters on a case-by-case basis. 

Defining wildland firefighter safety and survival zone separation distances

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The significant variables for the fatal injury model were fire shelter use, slope steepness and flame height. The separation distances needed to ensure no more than a 1 or 5% probability of fatal injury, without the use of a fire shelter, for slopes less than 25% were 20 to 50 m for flame heights less than 10 m, and 1 to 4 times the flame height for flames taller than 10 m. The non-fatal injury model significant variables were fire shelter use, vehicle use and fuel type. At the 1 and 5% probability thresholds for a non-fatal injury, without the use of a fire shelter, the separation distances were 1 to 2, 6 to 7, and 12 to 16 times greater than the current safety zone guideline (i.e. 4 times the flame height) for timber, brush and grass fuel types respectively.

Computational study of the interactions of three adjacent burning shrubs subjected to wind

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The burnout time for upstream shrubs increased with an increase in shrub separation distance for all shrub sizes and wind speeds considered. The burnout time for the downstream shrub was found to decrease with an increase in the separation distance, reach a minimum, and then increase with an increase in separation distance. The trends observed in burnout times for downstream shrub were attributed to the balance between heat feedback into the downstream shrub from the flames in upstream shrubs and availability of sufficient oxygen for combustion to take place.

Influence of climate and environment on post-fire recovery of mountain big sagebrush

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This study investigated the relative importance of site productivity and seasonal climate in explaining the variance in recovery time for 36 fires, comprising a fire chrono-sequence (from 1971 to 2007) for the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. A. t. vaseyana recovery was positively related to precipitation in the cool season immediately following fire, likely because deep soil-water recharge that persists throughout the growing season enhances first-year seedling survival. Percentage sand fraction positively correlated with recovery rate yet negatively correlated with live cover in unburnt stands. Our data support the hypothesis that post-fire recovery rate of A. t. vaseyana depends on the climatically controlled ephemerality of the regeneration niche, as is likely true for many arid-land shrub species.

Removal of perennial herbaceous species affects response of cold desert scrublands to fire

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Results show that loss of perennial herbaceous species, which can result from inappropriate livestock grazing, and loss of shrubs, which often results from fire, interact to affect key functional groups. The implications are that ecosystem resilience to disturbance in Cold Desert shrublands decreases when competition from perennial native grasses and forbs for available resources no longer prevents dominance by A. tridentata and other shrubs and/ or annual invasive grasses. Managing livestock grazing to maintain or increase perennial herbaceous species, especially deep-rooted grasses, which contribute to resilience along elevation gradients, can help prevent threshold crossings to undesirable states and retain critical ecosystem services following disturbances such as wildfire.

Post-fire vegetation response at the woodland-shrubland interface is mediated by the pre-fire community

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Among sites with low-to-moderate tree cover, burning largely eliminated differences in understory composition, suggesting that biotic legacies were sufficient to result in predictable trajectories. In contrast, sites with high pre-fire tree cover transitioned into an annual forb-dominated community with sparse vegetation cover, suggesting that the loss of the understory community initiated unpredictable and divergent post-fire trajectories. Because plant communities were still changing four years after fire, it is unclear whether the alternate trajectories in sites with high tree cover will result in the formation of alternate states, or whether community composition will eventually converge with other sites at the same elevation. Results indicate that careful evaluation of site characteristics can be used to predict treatment outcomes at the woodland-shrubland interface, and to guide the appropriate use of prescribed fire or other management practices.

Population genetic structure of Bromus tectorum in the mountains of western North America

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The wide geographic distribution of several common haplotypes almost completely restricted to montane habitats suggests that dominant lineages in montane populations may possess adaptive syndromes that are preserved through reduced outcrossing rates or negative selection on outcrossed progeny. However, conclusive evidence of such local adaptation requires reciprocal seeding experiments and further characterization of adaptive traits and breeding system characteristics. Other lineages have likely risen to dominance in montane populations through selectively neutral processes.

Managing climate change risks in rangeland systems

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A risk framework for adaptation could integrate key vulnerabilities, risk, and hazards, and facilitate development of adaptation actions that address the entire socio-ecological system. Adaptation plans will need to be developed and implemented with recognition of future uncertainty that necessitates an iterative implementation process as new experience and information accumulate. Developing the skills to manage with uncertainty may be a singularly important strategy that landowners, managers, and scientists require to develop adaptive capacity.

Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

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Wildfires across western North America have increased in number and size over the past three decades, and this trend will continue in response to further warming. As a consequence, the wildland–urban interface is projected to experience substantially higher risk of climate-driven fires in the coming decades. Key aspects of an adaptive resilience approach are (i) recognizing that fuels reduction cannot alter regional wildfire trends; (ii) targeting fuels reduction to increase adaptation by some ecosystems and residential communities to more frequent fire; (iii) actively managing more wild and prescribed fires with a range of severities; and (iv) incentivizing and planning residential development to withstand inevitable wildfire. These strategies represent a shift in policy and management from restoring ecosystems based on historical baselines to adapting to changing fire regimes and from unsustainable defense of the wildland–urban interface to developing fire-adapted communities. 

Towards improving wildland firefighter situational awareness through daily fire behaviour risk assessments in the US Northern Rockies and Northern Great Basin

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This paper presents a simple framework for relating fire danger indices to observed categorical wildland fire behaviour. Ordinal logistic regressions are used to model the probabilities of five distinct fire behaviour categories that are then combined with a safety-based weight function to calculate a Fire Behaviour Risk rating that can plotted over time and spatially mapped. Development and use across three adjacent US National Forests is demonstrated, and predicted fire behaviour risk ratings are compared with observed variations in satellite-measured fire radiative power. This approach transforms fire weather conditions into simple and actionable fire behaviour risk metrics that wildland firefighters can use to support decisions that meet required objectives and keep people safe.

Updating LANDFIRE fuel data assists local planning efforts

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The LANDFIRE program provides a data safety net by producing biannually updated fuels products for all-lands in the United States. But even these data are two to three years old when they are delivered, and while they provide a good starting point, they are designed for national and regional level application. Local review and calibration is recommended to ensure that the data are suitable for smaller landscapes. An example from Idaho illustrates how adjusting LANDFIRE fuel data can ensure that current, accurate fuel information is ready to support fire and land management activities. 

Approaches for modeling in landscape genetics through landscape-directed dispersal simulations

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Researchers developed landscape-directed dispersal simulations and tested a series of replicates that emulate independent empirical datasets for greater sage-grouse and eastern foxsnake. The study helps establish methods for using liner mixed models to identify the features underlying patterns of dispersal across a variety of landscapes.

 

Monitoring protocols: options, approaches, implementation, benefits

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This chapter reviews some of the conceptual and technological advancements and provide examples of how they have influenced rangeland monitoring. It then discuss implications of these developments for rangeland management and highlight what are seen as challenges and opportunities for implementing effective rangeland monitoring. It concludes with a vision for how monitoring can contribute to rangeland information needs in the future.

Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming basins

This book adds to current knowledge about the regional status of the sagebrush ecosystem, the distribution of habitats, the threats to the ecosystem, and the influence of threats and habitat conditions on occurrence and abundance of sagebrush associated fauna and flora in the Wyoming Basins.

Range-wide connectivity of priority areas for greater sage-grouse: implications for long-term conservation from graph theory

This study used graph theory, representing priority areas as spatially distributed nodes interconnected by movement corridors, to understand the capacity of priority areas to function as connected networks in the Bi-State, Central, and Washington regions of the Greater Sage-Grouse range.

Application of rangeland health indicators on forested plots on the Fishlake National Forest, Utah

This study adapted and applied four rangeland health indicators to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program for research locations on the Fishlake National Forest in central Utah.

Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 3. Site level restoration decisions

This handbook walks managers and practitioners through a number of site-specific decisions managers face before selecting the appropriate type of restoration. This site-level decision tool for restoration of sagebrush steppe ecosystems is organized in nine steps.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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. 

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. 

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.

"What Limits Flexible Fire Management - Pulic Or Agency Pressure? "

The overarching policy direction in fire management is for increased flexibility, but there are factors that can constrain or facilitate that type of approach.  Perhaps most surprising is this study's finding that internal factors like planning documents, and not community and political pressure, are having the biggest influence on fire management strategies.

Long-Term Survivorship Of Single-Needle Pinyon (Pinus Monophylla) In Mixed-Conifer Ecosystems Of The Great Basin

We examined stand structure and development of mixed-conifer ecosystems in the south-central Great Basin where pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) are found together with other species, such as ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), with particular emphasis on pre- and post-settlement conditions.

Forb Nutrient Density For Sage Grouse Broods In Mountain Big Sagebrush Communities, Montana

Forbs are important for survival of sage grouse chicks, but it can be hard to grow enough forbs under sagebrush canopies dense enough to meet recommended cover levels. Selective thinning and targeted cattle grazing may offer a path to a win/win solution.

Do Carbon Offsets Work? The Role Of Forest Management In Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

When several members of the Society of American Foresters questioned the science and assumptions used to design forest carbon offset projects, the organization decided to convene a task force to examine whether these projects can provide the intended climate benefits.

Fire Regimes Of Quaking Aspen In The Mountain West

Stands of quaking aspen across North America respond to and are shaped by fire differently. A new classification system based on differences in fire severity and probability helps managers categorize aspen into five fire regimes that reflect the influence of environmental settings, and contribute to aspen communities and successional stages.

Trends In Surface Air Temperature And Temperature Extremes In The Great Basin During The 20th Century From Ground-Based Observations

May 13, 2013
Tang and Arnone, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Vol. 118, Issue 7,
Published Online: 13 MAY 2013, DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50360
This study analyzed trends in surface air temperature and temperature extremes in the Great Basin during 1901–2010. Researchers found that annual average daily minimum temperature increased significantly (0.9+/-0.20C) during the study period, with daily maximum temperature increasing only slightly.  The results of this study suggest that continuation of the overall warming trend would lead to markedly warmer conditions in upcoming decades.

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Potential Topics For Joint Fire Science Program Fiscal Year 2014 Research Funding

Potential Topics For Joint Fire Science Program Fiscal Year 2014 Research Funding

The intent of this notice is to provide an early alert to investigators interested in the topics listed below so that investigators can begin considering responsive ideas with potential partners and collaborators.

"Monitoring Restoration Impacts To Endemic Plant Communities In Soil Inclusions Of Arid Environments "

Slickspot soils in arid western North America are saltier than surrounding, dominant soil and support different types of native, rare vegetation. Monitoring slickspots using aerial photographs allowed USGS scientists and collaborators to determine that slickspot sizes were not affected by two sagebrush restoration techniques in the Snake River Plain, ID.

"Postfire Seeding For Erosion Control: Effectiveness And Impacts On Native Plant Communities "

Fire is a natural disturbance in most western north American ecosystems. The success of fire suppression during the twentieth century, however, has created fuel conditions in many communities that now result in fires of greater intensity and extent than would have occurred historically (Norris 1990; Agee 1993). 

Problems in artificial and natural revegetation of the arid shadscale vegetation zone of Utah and Nevada

Vast areas of the arid shadscale zone have been rehabilitated through management, but direct plantings of both native and introduced species usually have failed. Future success will likely be with native plants, including shrubs, adapted to the particular site.