RMRS Program Areas
Laurie Kay Stroh Huckaby
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Laurie Kay Stroh Huckaby
Reconstructing Forest Stucture, Fire History, and Stand Spatial Patterns in Colorado Front Range Montane Forests to Inform Restoration: The Front Range Forest Reconstruction Network with Peter Brown, Paula Fornwalt, Mike Battaglia and Jose Negron. We are reconstructing historical (ca. 1860-1880) forest structure, reconstruct historical fire regimes and age structure, and reconstruct historical tree spatial patterns, densities and relative sizes of openings and contrast reconstructed patterns with current conditions. Surveying, dating and recoding culturally modified trees in northern Colorado with Marcy Reiser (ARNF) and Jason LaBelle (CSU). Reconstructing past bark beetle outbreaks at high elevations, and reconstructing fire history and stand structure in mountain pine beetle killed old growth lodgepole pine forests in northern Colorado with Jose Negron. Fire effects and bark beetle activity on existing mixed conifer plots burned in High Park fire with Jose Negron. Fire history and stand structure in mixed conifer forests and foothills woodlands in Larimer County, Colorado and species migrations, shifting ecotones and changing fire regimes relative to climate change in northern Colorado. Stand structure and disturbance history in spruce forests attacked by spruce beetles at GLEES in southern Wyoming with John Frank, Jose Negron, and Bill Massman. Reconstructing fire history and stand structure changes with climate in the foothills of Larimer County. Reconstructing Native American land use and influences on fire history in the foothills and mountains of northern Colorado using fire scars, culturally modified trees and archaeology and developing a model to detect Native American influences in historical fire regimes with Jason LaBelle and Jason Sibold (CSU). Locating, mapping and reconstructing fire history and stand structure in remnant high-elevation ponderosa pine stands in Larimer County, Colorado.
I am interested in how things got to be the way they are--a fairly simple question that usually has very complex answers. The how and why of what happened encompasses much of natural and human history and how people and forests interact with climate, disturbance, and each other over time. I am fascinated by how trees record their experiences in their growth and how that information can be decoded through the science of dendrochronology and applied to disturbance ecology and historical ecology. My primary interest has been in Rocky Mountain forests and woodlands across the entire elevational gradient, from plains to alpine tundra, and as far back in time as I can find any sort of record. Most recently I have become interested in Native American influences on historical fire regimes and human land use effects on stand structure, and how that interacted with climate. I would like to expand my knowledge of archaeology, and use other historical proxy data such as sediment cores and packrat middens in conjunction with tree rings to extend Front Range chronologies fartherback in time.
My research has involved reconstructing the history of forest stands and ecotones, fire regimes and human land use in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, across latitudinal and elevational gradients. My focus has been on fire history in ponderosa pine-dominated ecosystems.
Why This Research is Important
To understand how organisms, communities and ecosystems function and how they change in response to changing climate and land use, we must look to the past. We must use multiple proxies and sources of information to get a picture of past ecosystem structure and function, including climate and disturbance recorded in tree rings, early written records and photographs, sediment cores, reconstructed temperature and precipitation, and archaeology. Reconstructing historical climate, disturance regimes, human land use and what was resilient and persisted, and what did not. From that knowledge we can begin to predict how organisms, communities and ecosystems might respond to current and future changes and advise managers on how to restore and manage them for resilience and desired trajectories in the future.
- Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX, BS Biology, minor in English, 1983
- Colorado State University, Fort Collins, MS Forest Science (Program for Ecological Studies) Thesis - Regeneration following fire in the forest-alpine ecotone in the Colorado Front Range., 1991
- Ecologist, Permanent for USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
2006 - Current
Research on landscape ecology, disturbance history and historical ecology in ponderosa pine, mixed conifer and subalpine exosystems in northern Colorado and Wyoming.
- Ecologist, TERM appointment for USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
2002 - 2006
Research on landscape ecology, disturbance history and historical ecology in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer ecosystems in northern Colorado.
- Ecologist, Contractor for USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
1996 - 2002
Research on landscape ecology, disturbance history and historical ecology in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer ecosystems in Colorado and New Mexico..
- Technical Editor, Contractor for USDA Forest Service Region 2
1997 - 1997
Edited Ecological types of the Upper Gunnison Basin for Region 2. Interacted with primary author Barry Johnston.
- Technical Editor, Contractor for USGS National Biological Service Midcontinent Ecological Science Center.
1996 - 1996
Assistant editor for The Status and Trends of the Nation's Biological Resources. Edited scientific text and graphics for content, format and style. Wrote a section on California vegetation. Interaced with authors, graphic artists, and other editorial staff.
- Ecologist and Technical Editor, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
1990 - 1994
Field work, data analysis and publications for disturbance history, forest succession and vegetationclassification studies in the subalpine forest of Colorado.
- Research/Teaching Assistant, Department of Forest and Wood Science, Colorado State University
1988 - 1990
- Research Technician, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1985 - 1987
- Research Technician, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
1983 - 1985
Awards & Recognition
- USDA Forest Service Certificate of Merit, 2000
For outstanding contributions in fire history and dendrochronology for the South Platte Restoration Project
- Performance Incentive Programs, 1999
For dedication to the project, providing accurate data and publications
- USDA Forest Service Certificate of Merit, 1993
For work on Lichens as Bioindicators of Air Quality
Featured Publications & Products
- Huckaby, Laurie Stroh; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Fornwalt, Paula J.; Stoker, Jason M.; Dennis, Chuck. 2003. Identification and ecology of old ponderosa pine trees in the Colorado Front Range.
- Huckaby, Laurie Stroh; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Fornwalt, Paula J.; Stoker, Jason M.; Dennis, Chuck. 2003. Field guide to old ponderosa pines in the Colorado Front Range.
Publications & Products
- Fornwalt, Paula J.; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Huckaby, Laurie S. 2009. Effects of past logging and grazing on understory plant communities in a montane Colorado forest.
- Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Aplet, Gregory H.; Babler, Michael G.; Baker, William L.; Bentz, Barbara; Harrington, Michael; Hawkes, Brad C.; Huckaby, Laurie Stroh; Jenkins, Michael J.; Kashian, Daniel M.; Keane, Robert E.; Kulakowski, Dominik; McCaughey, Ward; McHugh, Charles; Negron, Jose; Popp, John; Romme, William H.; Shepperd, Wayne; Smith, Frederick W.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Tinker, Daniel; Veblen, Thomas T. 2008. The status of our scientific understanding of lodgepole pine and mountain pine beetles - a focus on forest ecology and fire behavior.
- Lewis, Paige; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Huckaby, Laurie S.; Leatherman, Dave. 2005. 2004 report on the health of Colorado's forests: Special issue: Ponderosa pine forests.
- Romme, William H.; Regan, Claudia M.; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Huckaby, Laurie; Veblen, Thomas T. 2003. Ecological effects of the Hayman Fire - Part 4: Forest succession.
- Fornwalt, Paula J.; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Huckaby, Laurie S.; Stoker, Jason M.; Stohlgren, Thomas J. 2003. Non-native plant invasions in managed and protected ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forests of the Colorado Front Range.
- Fornwalt, Paula J.; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Huckaby, Laurie S.; Stoker, Jason M. 2002. Using the Forest Vegetation Simulator to reconstruct historical stand conditions in the Colorado Front Range.
- Kaufmann, M. R.; Huckaby, L. S.; Gleason, P. 2000. Ponderosa pine in the Colorado Front Range: long historical fire and tree recruitment intervals and a case for landscape heterogeneity.
- Kaufmann, M. R.; Huckaby, L. S.; Regan, C. M.; Popp, J. 1998. Forest reference conditions for ecosystem management in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico.
- Sutherland, E. K.; Grissino-Mayer, H.; Woodhouse, C. A.; Covington, W. W.; Horn, S.; Huckaby, L.; Kerr, R.; Kush, J.; Moore, M.; Plumb, T. 1995. Two centuries of fire in a southwestern Virginia Pinus pungens community.