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Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
Contact Information
  • Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
  • 333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
  • Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
  • 505-724-3660
  • 505-724-3688 (fax)

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Deborah M. Finch

Program Manager/Supervisory Biologist
333 Broadway SE, Suite 115
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
Phone: 505-724-3671
Contact Deborah M. Finch


Current Research

I focus much of my research on riparian and rangeland environments, specifically evaluating the effects of fire and the removal of invasive plant species and fuel loads to reduce the risk of fire and determine the effects of those measures on biological diversity, threatened, endangered and rare species, riparian resources, and interactions among different elements of ecosystems. I evaluate how processes and functions change and how managers can improve ecosystem conditions. I am also interested in restoration, including thinning, prescribed fire, and adaptation assistance. I am evaluating the impacts of natural resources management practices and natural effects, such as weather, climate, and fire on birds and mammals, and on threatened and endangered species populations, and I am interested in developing conservation techniques and tools to recover TES. In addition, I have worked with colleagues to develop a system for scoring vulnerability of species to climate change and have engaged in several regional species vulnerability assessments using this tool .

Research Interests

I also examine neotropical migratory birds in relationship to the effects of natural resource practices and natural phenomena. I am involved in Partners in Flight (PIF), an organization which she helped to develop. I am assessing the vulnerability of species to shifts in climate and have developed support tools that managers can use to assist species to adapt to changing conditions. More recently, I have started work in urban environments, gauging how federal agency decision-makers make management decisions on urban ecosystem services associated with open space in and near city environments.

Past Research

My research informs managers and scientists about how natural and anthropogenic disturbances and restoration affect species populations and productivity and provide guidance for mitigating negative effects. My publications and consultations are used by managers to solve problems, recover threatened and endangered species, develop monitoring protocols, and manage biological diversity.

Why This Research is Important

I was recognized for my contributions to the field of landbird conservation by PIF in 2006. PIF is a cooperative effort dedicated to combining, coordinating, and increasing public and private resources for the purpose of conserving bird populations in North and South America. I have served as leader for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Recovery Team and have published conservation assessments on many other species. I was a project leader for 15 years, managing a grasslands and riparian project and numerous scientists. I competed for and was awarded funds for the Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem Management Research Unit, a research effort that has produced 272 publications since 1994.

Education

  • Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, BS Wildlife Management, 1978
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, MS Zoology, 1981
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Ph.D. Zoology and Physiology, 1987

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


RMRS-2010-009
How removal of invasive trees affects nesting birds in riparian areas

Researchers studied nesting success in areas dominated by native tree species such as willows, areas dominated by invasive species such as tamar ...

2010


RMRS-2012-01
The Effects of Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts

Studies show that by the turn of the century, climate in the Western United States may be incompatible with current vegetation types, resulting ...

2012


Last updated on : 03/12/2014