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Improved maps of disturbance and recovery across the US

Webinar recording.

In this webinar, RMRS research ecologist Sean Healey will discuss improved techniques for mapping forest disturbance and recovery across the United States with remotely sensed data.

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Western bumble bee: Declines in the continental United States and range‐wide information gaps

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In recent decades, many bumble bee species have declined due to changes in habitat, climate, and pressures from pathogens, pesticides, and introduced species. The western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), once common throughout western North America, is a species of concern and will be considered for listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We attempt to improve alignment of data collection and research with USFWS needs to consider redundancy, resiliency, and representation in the upcoming species status assessment. We reviewed existing data and literature on western bumble bee, highlighting information gaps and priority topics for research. Priorities include increased knowledge of trends, basic information on several life‐history stages, and improved understanding of the relative and interacting effects of stressors on population trends, especially the effects of pathogens, pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss. An understanding of how and where geographic range extent has changed for the two subspecies of western bumble bee is also needed.

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Collaborative forest landscape restoration program monitoring: A peer learning session

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Description: During this session, USDA Forest Service and collaborative members will explore lessons learned in the first 10 years of CFLRP monitoring – what worked well and what challenges we continue to encounter in the multi-party monitoring of ecological, social, and economic effects. Given those lessons, we will then discuss where we go from here.

Presenters: Tom DeMeo, Regional Ecologist, Pacific Northwest Region, USDA Forest Service; Jessica Robertson, Integrated Restoration Coordinator, USDA Forest Service; CFLRP project practitioners

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Simple monitoring frameworks can build effective and cooperative communities of practice

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Easy-to-understand monitoring frameworks create a common baseline resource standard that can be easily understood and allow diverse stakeholders with different needs to work together to restore and protect Mediterranean-type ecosystems into the future. This research brief provides an example of conceptual modeling framework.

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RangeSAT – Satellite-based assessment tools for rangelands

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RangeSAT uses satellite data to generate maps and graphs of vegetation across pastures, ranches, and allotments. Using the record of Landsat data going back to 1984, the interface lets users easily view maps of vegetation amounts across their ranch or management area, at a single point in time or averaged across a month or a season. Vegetation amounts can also be displayed as graphs, allowing users to compare current vegetation amounts to past time periods. Climate variables (precipitation, potential evapotranspiration) can also be viewed alongside graphs of vegetation throughout a growing season.

RangeSAT is an ongoing project being developed at the University of Idaho, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Oregon Ranchers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Northwest Climate Hub.

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Ecological Society of America 2020 Virtual Meeting

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ESA held a totally virtual Annual Meeting this year from August 3–6 in response to the pandemic. The virtual meeting provided an opportunity for you to join colleagues and leaders from across the field for four days of inspiration and community focused on your research and your career as each of us looks ahead to the future.

Like many science fields, the ecological sciences are being flooded by massive and diverse sources of information. For example, remote sensing platforms, automated sensors, observatory networks, molecular techniques, large-scale or replicated experiments, and predictive (simulation) models are generating enormous amounts of data over time and/or across space. Such big and diverse data are opening up new avenues of research and enabling ecologists to address more complex questions and hypotheses that, for example, span multiple scales and disciplines. However, this information deluge also creates challenges in terms of methods available for harnessing the information contained in such data and tools for effectively communicating big data issues and results. The 105th annual meeting encourages contributions that address these issues or that employ novel and integrative approaches to harnessing the data revolution to address pressing issues in ecology.

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The west-wide fuelcasting system

Webinar recording.

Description: Fuelcasting is a new program that provides projections of expected fuel conditions this grazing season. It is an important component of the Rangeland Production Monitoring System. he 30-minute webinar provides an overview of the system, demonstrates how to download and use the data, and discusses the 2020 fuel outlook with a focus on hotspots.

Presenter: Matt Reeves, USFS RMRS scientist

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Monitoring pinyon-juniper cover and aboveground biomass across the Great Basin

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Since the mid-1800s pinyon-juniper (PJ) woodlands have been encroaching into sagebrush-steppe shrublands and grasslands such that they now comprise 40% of the total forest and woodland area of the Intermountain West of the United States. More recently, PJ ecosystems in select areas have experienced dramatic reductions in area and biomass due to extreme drought, wildfire, and management. Due to the vast area of PJ ecosystems, tracking these changes in woodland tree cover is essential for understanding their consequences for carbon accounting efforts, as well as ecosystem structure and functioning. Here we present a carbon monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system for characterizing total aboveground biomass stocks and flux of PJ ecosystems across the Great Basin.

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Fieldwork in the time of COVID-19

Webinar recording.

Description: Join a panel of practitioners from several realms (governmental, contracting, and non-profit) to learn how they are adapting field work plans to reduce risks to practitioners and community members in the time of COVID 19. As we are all learning and adapting to this strange new world together, we’ll wrap up with time for participants to share their own ideas and ask questions of panelists and each other.

Presenters are the following SER-NW chapter board members:

Jeff Barna an ecologist with a wide-ranging research background focusing on plants and wildlife, as well as wetland and riparian ecology. Jeff currently works for Environmental Science Associates, an employee-owned natural resource management and restoration design company. He has worked throughout the U.S., but is now happily based in the Northwest, and lives in Portland. Jeff is very passionate about engaging young people, particularly those interested in becoming ecologists because of the importance of supporting the next generation of restoration scientists.

Ben Peterson an aquatic weed biologist with the King County Noxious Weed Program in Seattle, WA, where he has worked since 2009. Over the years he has worked on restoration projects with several non-profit, for profit, and government organizations (including an internship with the Aldo Leopold foundation where he got to sleep in The Shack for a week). Ben received a MS from the University of Washington in 2008.

Regina Wandler, Stewardship Manager at Skagit Land Trust, Regina is responsible for monitoring and managing over 8,000 acres of conservation land across Skagit County. She began serving on SERNW’s board in 2015 while completing her Masters in Environmental Horticulture at the University of Washington, and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner In Training (CERPIT).

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Long‐term trajectories of component change in the northern Great Basin

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This study reports an automated method of mapping rangeland fractional component cover over a large portion of the northern Great Basin, from 1986 to 2016 using a dense Landsat imagery time series. Over the 30‐yr period, shrub cover declined and bare ground increased. While few pixels had >10% cover change, a large majority had at least some change. All fractional components had significant spatial relationships with water year precipitation (WYPRCP), maximum temperature (WYTMAX), and minimum temperature (WYTMIN) in all years. Shrub and sagebrush cover in particular respond positively to warming WYTMIN, resulting from the largest increases in WYTMIN being in the coolest and wettest areas, and respond negatively to warming WYTMAX because the largest increases in WYTMAX are in the warmest and driest areas. The trade‐off of lowering temporal density against removing cloud‐contaminated years is justified as temporal density appears to have only a modest impact on trends and climate relationships until n ≤ 6, but multi‐year gaps are proportionally more influential. Gradual change analysis is likely to be less sensitive to n than abrupt change. These data can be used to answer critical questions regarding the influence of climate change and the suitability of management practices.

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