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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)


Jeanne C. Chambers

Research Ecologist
920 Valley Road
United States

Phone: 775-784-7020

Current Research

Much of my current research focuses on (1) developing an understanding of the factors that determine ecological resistance to invasive species, especially annual grasses cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), and that affect ecological resilience to disturbances like fire, and (2) using that information to develop effective management and restoration approaches. Study systems include arid and semi-arid shrublands, woodlands, riparian ecosystems and alpine ecosystems.

Research Interests

My research interests include: 1) disturbance/restoration ecology, 2) global change processes, 3) invasive species, especially annual grasses, and 4) arid and semi-arid shrublands, woodlands, riparian ecosystems and alpine ecosystems.

Past Research

My research has focused on the ecology, restoration, and management of ecosystems in the western US. 

  • My early research focused on restoration of severely disturbed ecosystems with an emphasis on alpine areas. This work increased understanding of seed dispersal and seedling establishment processes in these ecosystems and was published in various journals including Ecology.
  • A  major effort in which I am still involved focuses on restoring and maintaining riparian and meadow ecosystems with an emphasis on the Great Basin. This interdisciplinary work involved geomorphologists, hydrologists and plant ecologists, and resulted in numerous synthetic publications including a book and GTR on the factors affecting stream, riparian ecosystem, and meadow dynamics.
  • A long-term focus of my research has been on understanding effects of global change processes and management actions in Cold Desert shrublands and woodlands.  This work  has emphasized understanding the importance of environmental and productivity gradients on ecosystem response to (1) annual grass invasion, (2) woodland expansion, and (3) wildfire and management actions such as prescribed fire and tree cutting.
  • Consistent elements of my research include increasing understanding of relationships among environmental factors (precipitation, temperature), ecosytem attributes (soil water and nutrient availability) and biotic processes (plant establishment and community productivity).

Why This Research is Important

Developing an understanding of ecosystem resistance to invasive species and resilience to disturbance is essential for prioritizing management activities across the landscape and developing the most effective actions.  This requires knowledge of the  environmental factors and abiotic and biotic attributes and processes that determine ecosystem responses to global change and management actions.  My colleagues and I have developed this information for key ecosystems in the Cold Deserts Ecoregion. 

  • Riparian and meadow ecosystems - A process based approach has been developed for maintaining and restoring these ecosystems that is based on knowledge of their geomorphology, hydrology and vegetation communities.  This work has been synthesized in a 2004 Island Press book and a 2011 RMRS GTR-258, both edited by Chambers and Miller (see above).
  • Cold Desert shrublands - The conceptual basis for evaluating Cold Desert shrublands based on resistance to invasion and resilience to disturbance has been developed, and an integrated, strategic approach for categorizing these shrublands based on their relative resilience and resistance has been devised.  This work has been used to link ecosystem resilience and resistance with species conservation requirements, specifically Greater Sage-Grouse,  and is being used to prioritize land management actions to decrease the threats of invasive annual grasses and wildfire by both BLM and FS in sagebrush ecosystems.  It has been published in Ecosystems (2014) and a 2014 RMRS GTR-2014. 


  • Utah State University, Biology/ Ecology , 1987
  • Utah State University, Range Science , 1979
  • Idaho State University, Wildlife Conservation , 1975

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


New Research on Resilience of Sagebrush Ecosystems Used for Improving Sage-grouse Habitat

New research from the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station on sagebrush ecosystems is being put to use to benefit Greater Sage-Grous ...


Last updated on : 10/06/2015