Resistance & Resilience

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State-and-transition simulation modeling in real life: A 3-part webinar series

Webinar registration.

This 3-part modeling miniseries, takes a wide-ranging look at State-and-Transition-Simulation-Models (STSMs) and use the LANDFIRE BpS models as a launching point for inquiry about ecosystem change over time. We will communicate practical ways to use STSM in real-life research, management and academia. There will be 15-20 min at the end of each section for Q & A.

June 2 – Part 1: Kori Blankenship (LANDFIRE Fire Ecologist) will discuss the basics of (STSMs), introduce the LANDFIRE BpS models and share resources for both novice and intermediate state-and-transition modelers.

June 9 – Part 2: Leonardo Frid (Systems Ecologist at Apex Resource Management Solutions) will showcase real-life STSM applications with the ST-Sim package for SyncroSim, demonstrate how to use both the Graphical User Interface and rsyncrosim R package and discuss different approaches for applying state and transition modeling tools in real-life management scenarios.

June 16 – Part 3: Randy Swaty (LANDFIRE Ecologist) & Dr. Priscilla Nyamai (Asst. Professor, Grand Valley State Univ.) will discuss how integrating STSMs in the classroom can be useful for conceptualizing ecosystem changes.

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44th Annual National Indian Timber Virtual Symposium

Conference registration.

The 44th Annual National Indian Timber Symposium, themed “Thriving Through Adversity,” will be held May 17-20, 2021, hosted virtually by the Intertribal Timber Council.

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Repeated fall Rx fire in previously thinned ponderosa pine increases growth and resistance

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This study examines tree growth and mortality associated with spring and fall burning repeated at five (5 yr) and fifteen-year (15 yr) intervals in six previously thinned ponderosa pine stands in the southern Blue Mountain Ecoregion near Burns, Oregon, USA. Each stand consisted of an unburned control, and four season-by-burn interval treatments: spring 5 yr, spring 15 yr, fall 5 yr, and fall 15 yr. Burning was initiated in fall 1997 and spring  1998. Pine height and diameter growth was evaluated in 2013, 15 years following initial treatment. Mortality was assessed annually from 2002 to 2017, when these stands experienced severe defoliation from pine butterfly (PB, Neophasia menapia), followed by a moderate outbreak of western pine beetle (WPB, Dendroctonus brevicomis), allowing us to examine resistance to these disturbances. Pine in the 5 yr fall treatments added more diameter than spring 15 yr and marginally more than spring 5 yr, while fall 15 yr added marginally more diameter than spring 15 yr. In addition, the fall 5 yr treatments had lower mortality associated with prescribed fire, PB, WPB, Ips spp., red turpentine beetle (RTB, D. valens), and mountain pine beetle (MPB, D. ponderosae), but the effect was not always significant. Annosus root disease (ARD, caused by Heterobasidion irregulare) and black stain root  disease (BSRD, caused by Leptographium wagneri var. ponderosum) appear to be unaffected by burning. However, BSRD occurrence dramatically declined in all treatments, probably a result of thinning prior to study initiation. Results from this study demonstrate that repeated fall burning, especially at 5-year intervals, improves ponderosa pine diameter growth and may provide resistance to future biotic and abiotic disturbances while spring burning, regardless of frequency, does not.

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State and transition models for MLRA 26 (NV and CA)

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Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD) synthesize information concerning soils, hydrology, ecology, and management into a user-friendly document. A crucial component of an ESD is the state-and-transition model (STM) that identifies the different vegetation states, describes the disturbances that caused vegetation change, and suggests restoration activities needed to restore plant communities. State-and-transition models are powerful tools that utilize professional knowledge, data, and literature to describe the resistance and resilience of an ecological site. The STM then captures various disturbances, triggers leading to ecological thresholds, feedback mechanisms maintaining ecological states, and the restoration techniques required for moving from one ecological state to another (Briske et al. 2008, Stringham et al. 2003).

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Great Basin pinyon and juniper: Ecology, history, and restoration website

Visit the PJ website, authored by Rick Miller

Pinyon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands occupy over 78,000 square miles of the Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau. These woodlands have persisted for tens of thousands of years and provide important biodiversity and habitat for many species across the region. Yet, relatively recent infill of new trees into old-growth woodlands and expansion of trees into adjacent sagebrush-steppe, riparian, and aspen communities have created a considerable mix of concerns around wildfire, drought-mortality, invasive species, watershed function, tree removal, and loss of habitat, biodiversity, and resilience.

This website provides background information on the ecology and management of PJ woodlands useful to the interested public and emerging information important to resource managers.
1) PJ 101 provides a brief introduction to and description of PJ woodlands with links to more in-depth information.
2) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) briefly addresses questions related to the ecology and management of PJ woodlands.
3) Tools provides information and concepts for evaluating landscapes, which are specifically useful for predicting disturbance or vegetation management responses in PJ woodlands.
4) Literature provides brief summaries and links to recently published PJ woodlands studies. Study findings are highlighted and discussed in terms of our current understanding.

This website will be continually updated with new articles, questions, and tools.

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Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

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Conference theme: Resilient Colorado: Moving Forward in Evolving Wildfire Landscapes

September 21-23, 2021
Double Tree Hotel
743 Horizon Drive
Grand Junction, Colorado

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Ecological drought: Planning for resilience

Webinar recording.

This webinar focuses on planning, restoration, and recovery actions that strengthen ecosystem resilience, mitigate the impacts of natural disasters, and realize co-benefits.

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Cartwright, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, USGS
Rachel M. Gregg, Senior Scientist, EcoAdapt
Hannah Panci, Climate Change Scientist and Robert Croll, Climate Change Program Coordinator, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

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Rethinking the restoration of resilience for ecosystems outside their historical range of variation

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Resilience goals should be updated to better apply to 21st century ecosystems. They propose a concept of scaled resilience, which incorporates scales of time, space, and biological level of organization. By measuring disturbance and post-disturbance ecosystem responses in all three dimensions, scaled resilience models can be grounded by data that are much more useful to land managers than simple comparisons to reference site conditions.

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Managing for resilience during climate change

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Making lands resilient to climate change has become a legal mandate for US Forest Service land planners (2012 USFS Planning Rule). However, interpreting and applying the directive is challenging because the term “resilience” is rather vague. It is diluted by a variety of definitions in the literature, as well as executed differently in diverse ecosystems by a variety of specialists.

To better grasp how USFS staff interpreted and applied the directive, twenty-six Southwestern Region USFS planners and mangers were interviewed for 30-60 minutes each. The semi-structured interviews were then coded to identify themes and trends. Overall, inductive content analysis of the coded interview data showed that the interviewees had three main areas of concern over the difficulty in reporting and implementing the resilience directive: 1) definitions and scale, 2) flexibility and specificity, and 3) the resilience to climate change paradox.

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Operationalizing concepts of resilience and resistance for at risk ecosystems

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A resilience-based approach to management can facilitate regional planning by guiding the allocation of management resources to where they will have optimal socioecological benefits. This type of approach requires a sound understanding of the environmental factors, ecosystem attributes and processes, and landscape components that influence ecological resilience of the focal system. Chambers et al. review and integrate resilience concepts to help inform natural resources management decisions for ecosystems and landscapes. They describe the six key components of a resilience-based approach, beginning with managing for adaptive capacity and selecting an appropriate spatial extent and grain. Additional components include developing an understanding of the factors influencing the general and ecological resilience of ecosystems and landscapes, the landscape context and spatial resilience, pattern and process interactions and their variability, and relationships among ecological and spatial resilience and the capacity to support habitats and species. They suggest that a spatially explicit approach that couples geospatial information on general and spatial resilience to disturbance with information on resources, habitats, or species provides the foundation for resilience-based management. A case study from the sagebrush biome is provided that is widely used by the management agencies.

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