Biotic Responses to Changing Landscapes
There is an urgent need to develop approaches for assessing and planning for risks to biological resources through understanding of both natural and anthropogenic landscape patterns and processes across multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Building and Testing Landscape Wildlife Habitat Suitability Models
Forest management requires understanding the distribution of wildlife species and their habitat. Habitat suitability models identify variables that contribute to a species occurrence and can be expressed as maps depicting areas of high and low predicted habitat value. Because many proposed management projects and conservation plans occupy large areas, the models must apply to large regions across administrative boundaries. We publish models that predict distribution or relative habitat suitability for a wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates. Our predicted habitat maps are used by practitioners to evaluate management alternatives throughout the Pacific States.
Predicting wildlife response to wildfires, habitat fragmentation, urbanization, energy development, and climate change
Landscape-level changes in wildlife habitat are caused by a cascade of modern threats including wildfire, fragmentation, urbanization, energy development, and climate change. In the face of such threats, methods are needed to adapt land management strategies to positively influence wildlife populations. Unit scientists work with a wide variety of partners to develop methods to design and implement innovative approaches to minimize or mitigate the impacts from these threats. In particular, we employ recent technological advances (e.g.; bioacoustic monitoring and satellite imagery interpretation) in combination with the latest statistical methods and software to compile and provide access to databases that help predict wildlife response to emergent ecological pressures.
Predicting and monitoring riparian and aquatic wildlife response to restoration activities
Re-creating healthy riparian and aquatic ecosystems, and their dependent fish and wildlife populations, involves alteration of geomorphic and hydrologic processes to restore dynamic systems. Monitoring the response of local wildlife to rehabilitation efforts is key to evaluating the success of selected management actions in achieving short- and long-term goals of restoration, including maintaining and increasing wildlife populations, and providing feedback for an adaptive management strategy. Unit scientists develop models to predict the response of target species to habitat changes associated with restoration activities.
Using species assemblages to understand landscape processes
The effects of human land and resource use on ecological processes at the landscape scale are poorly understood, yet these effects are necessary to maintain ecological integrity across landscapes. We use individual species and their metacommunities to examine spatial dynamics across broad ecological contexts and large landscapes. Unit scientists develop multi-scale predictive models that predict species occurrence across landscapes with varying natural and anthropogenic disturbance levels.