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Jeanne C. Chambers

Research Ecologist

920 Valley Road
Reno, NV 89512
Contact Jeanne C. Chambers

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, Ph.D., Biology/ Ecology, 1987
  • Utah State University, M.S., Range Science, 1979
  • Idaho State University, B.S., Wildlife Conservation, 1975
  • Featured Publications


    Bradley, Bethany A.; Curtis, Caroline A.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2016. Bromus response to climate and projected changes with climate change [Chapter 9]
    Finch, Deborah M.; Boyce, Douglas A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Colt, Chris J.; Dumroese, Kasten; Kitchen, Stanley G.; McCarthy, Clinton; Meyer, Susan E.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Rowland, Mary M.; Rumble, Mark A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Tomosy, Monica S.; Wisdom, Michael J., 2016. Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse: An assessment of USDA Forest Service Science
    Brooks, Matthew L.; Brown, Cynthia S.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Keeley, Jon E.; Belnap, Jayne, 2016. Exotic annual Bromus invasions: Comparisons among species and ecoregions in the western United States [Chapter 2]
    Germino, Matthew J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brown, Cynthia S., 2016. Introduction: Exotic annual Bromus in the western USA [Chapter 1]
    Pyke, David A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Mealor, Brian A., 2016. Land uses, fire, and invasion: Exotic annual Bromus and human dimensions [Chapter 11]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Germino, Matthew J.; Belnap, Jayne; Brown, Cynthia S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; St. Clair, Samuel B., 2016. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species: The roles of community attributes, Bromus interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits [Chapter 10]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Campbell, Steve; Carlson, John; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Clause, Karen J.; Crist, Michele R.; Dinkins, Jonathan B.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Espinosa, Shawn; Griffin, Kathleen A.; Hanser, Steven E.; Havlina, Douglas W.; Henke, Kenneth F.; Hennig, Jacob D.; Kurth, Laurie L.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Manning, Mary; Mayer, Kenneth E.; Mealor, Brian A.; McCarthy, Clinton; Pellant, Mike; Perea, Marco A.; Prentice, Karen L.; Pyke, David A.; Wiechman, Lief A.; Wuenschel, Amarina, 2016. Science Framework for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy of the Department of the Interior, Secretarial Order 3336: Using resilience and resistance concepts to assess threats to sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse, prioritize conservation and r...
    Maestas, Jeremy D.; Campbell, Steven B.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Miller, Richard F., 2016. Tapping soil survey information for rapid assessment of sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance
    Jones, Rachel; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Johnson, Dale W.; Blank, Robert R.; Board, David, 2015. Effect of repeated burning on plant and soil carbon and nitrogen in cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) dominated ecosystems
    Dilts, Thomas E.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Dencker, Camie M.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2015. Functionally relevant climate variables for arid lands: Aclimatic water deficit approach for modelling desert shrub distributions
    Engelhardt, Blake M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Weisberg, Peter J., 2015. Geomorphic predictors of riparian vegetation in small mountain watersheds
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Pellant, Mike, 2015. Putting resilience and resistance concepts into practice
    Pyke, David A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Knick, Steven T.; Miller, Richard F.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Brunson, Mark; McIver, James D., 2015. Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat - Part 1
    Pyke, David A.; Knick, Steven T.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Miller, Richard F.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Brunson, Mark; McIver, James D., 2015. Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat - Part 2: Landscape level restoration decisions
    Elias, Emile; Steele, Caiti; Havstad, Kris; Steenwerth, Kerri; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Deswood, Helena; Kerr, Amber; Rango, Albert; Schwartz, Mark; Stine, Peter; Steele, Rachel, 2015. Southwest Regional Climate Hub and California Subsidiary Hub assessment of climate change vulnerability and adaptation and mitigation strategies
    Jones, Rachel O.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Board, David; Johnson, Dale W.; Blank, Robert R., 2015. The role of resource limitation in restoration of sagebrush ecosystems dominated by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)
    McIver, James; Brunson, Mark; Bunting, Steve; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Doescher, Paul; Grace, James; Hulet, April; Johnson, Dale; Knick, Steve; Miller, Richard; Pellant, Mike; Pierson, Fred; Pyke, David; Rau, Benjamin; Rollins, Kim; Roundy, Bruce; Schupp, Eugene; Tausch, Robin J.; Williams, Jason, 2014. A synopsis of short-term response to alternative restoration treatments in Sagebrush-Steppe: The SageSTEP Project
    Roundy, Bruce A.; Young, Kert; Cline, Nathan; Hulet, April; Miller, Richard F.; Tausch, Robin J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Rau, Ben, 2014. Pinon-juniper reduction increases soil water availability of the resource growth pool
    Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.; Hanser, Steven E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Grace, James B.; Knutson, Kevin C.; Pyke, David A.; Welty, Justin L.; Wirth, Troy A., 2014. Quantifying restoration effectiveness using multi-scale habitat models: Implications for sage-grouse in the Great Basin
    Pyke, David A.; Shaff, Scott E.; Lindgren, Andrew I.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul S.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Burnham, Jeffrey S.; Huso, Manuela M., 2014. Region-wide ecological responses of arid Wyoming big sagebrush communities to fuel treatments
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Richard F.; Board, David; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Grace, James B.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Tausch, Robin J., 2014. Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: Implications for state and transition models and management treatments
    Miller, Richard F.; Ratchford, Jaime; Roundy, Bruce A.; Tausch, Robin J.; Hulet, April; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2014. Response of conifer-encroached shrublands in the Great Basin to prescribed fire and mechanical treatments
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Eldredge, Eric P.; Snyder, Keirith A.; Board, David; de Queiroz, Tara Forbis; Hubbard, Vada, 2014. Restoring abandoned agricultural lands in cold desert shrublands: Tradeoffs between water availability and invasive species
    Rau, Benjamin M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul; Caldwell, Todd G., 2014. Soil resources influence vegetation and response to fire and fire-surrogate treatments in Sagebrush-Steppe Ecosystems
    Roundy, Bruce A.; Miller, Richard F.; Tausch, Robin J.; Young, Kert; Hulet, April; Rau, Ben; Jessop, Brad; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Eggett, Dennis, 2014. Understory cover responses to pinon-juniper treatments across tree dominance gradients in the Great Basin
    Miller, Richard F.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Pierson, Fred B.; Williams, C. Jason., 2013. A review of fire effects on vegetation and soils in the Great Basin Region: response and ecological site characteristics
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Turner, Kent; Raish, Carol B.; Ostoja, Steven M., 2013. An overview of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis [Chapter 1]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Turner, Kent; Raish, Carol B.; Ostoja, Steven M.., 2013. An overview of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis [Chapter 1] (Executive Summary)
    Pendleton, Burton K.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Ostoja, Steven M., 2013. Ecosystem stressors in southern Nevada [Chapter 2] (Executive Summary)
    Brooks, Mathew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; McKinley, Randy A., 2013. Fire history, effects and management in southern Nevada [Chapter 5]
    Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; McKinley, Randy A., 2013. Fire history, effects, and management in southern Nevada [Chapter 5] (Executive Summary)
    Brooks, Mathew L.; Ostoja, Steven M.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2013. Invasive species in southern Nevada [Chapter 4]
    Brooks, Matthew L.; Ostoja, Steven M.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2013. Invasive species in southern Nevada [Chapter 4] (Executive Summary)
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Sada, Donald W.; Ostoja, Steven M.; Brooks, Matthew L., 2013. Maintaining and restoring sustainable ecosystems in southern Nevada [Chapter 7]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Sada, Donald W.; Ostoja, Steven M.; Brooks, Matthew L.., 2013. Maintaining and restoring sustainable ecosystems in southern Nevada [Chapter 7] (Executive Summary)
    Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2013. Science-based management of public lands in southern Nevada [Chapter 11]
    Pendleton, Burton K.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Mathew L.; Ostoja, Steven M., 2013. Southern Nevada ecosystem stressors [Chapter 2]
    Ostoja, Steven M.; Brooks, Mathew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pendleton, Burton K., 2013. Species of conservation concern and environmental stressors: Local regional and global effects [Chapter 6]
    Ostoja, Steven M.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pendleton, Burton K., 2013. Species of conservation concern and environmental stressors: Local, regional and global effects [Chapter 6] (Executive Summary)
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Raish, Carol B., 2013. The Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis: Science to support land management in Southern Nevada
    Rau, B. M.; Tausch, Robin J.; Reiner, A.; Johnson, D. W.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Blank, R. R., 2012. Developing a model framework for predicting effects of woody expansion and fire on ecosystem carbon and nitrogen in a pinyon-juniper woodland
    Ford, Paulette L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Coe, Sharon J.; Pendleton, Burton K., 2012. Disturbance and Climate Change in the Interior West (Chapter 6)
    Schelhas, John; Miller, James H.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2012. Non-native plants and adaptive collaborative approaches to ecosystem restoration [Chapter 8]
    Miller, Jerry R.; Lord, Mark L.; Villarroel, Lionel F.; Germanoski, Dru; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2012. Structural organization of process zones in upland watersheds of central Nevada and its influence on basin connectivity, dynamics, and wet meadow complexes
    Trowbridge, Wendy; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Germanoski, Dru; Lord, Mark L.; Miller, Jerry R.; Jewett, David G., 2011. Charcterization of meadow ecosystems based on watershed and valley segment/reach scale characteristics [chapter 7]
    Lord, Mark L.; Jewett, David G.; Miller, Jerry R.; Germanoski, Dru; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2011. Hydrologic processes influencing meadow ecosystems [chapter 4]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R.; Germanosk, Dru, 2011. Introduction and overview [chapter 1]
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R., 2011. Meadow management and treatment options [chapter 8]
    Jannusch, Chris A.; Chandra, Sudeep; Dudley, Tom; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Trowbridge, Wendy, 2011. Meadow-stream processes and aquatic invertebrate community structure [chapter 6]
    Mazzola, Monica B.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Blank, Robert R.; Pyke, David A.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Allcock, Kimberly G.; Doescher, Paul S.; Nowak, Robert S., 2010. Effects of resource availability and propagule supply on native species recruitment in sagebrush ecosystems invaded by Bormus tectorum
    D'Antonio, Carla M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Loh, Rhonda; Tunison, J. Tim, 2009. Applying ecological concepts to the management of widespread grass invasions [Chapter 7]
    Rau, Benjamin M.; Johnson, Dale W.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Blank, Robert R.; Lucchesi, Annmarie, 2009. Estimating root biomass and distribution after fire in a Great Basin woodland using cores and pits
    Fleishman, Erica; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Wisdom, Michael J., 2009. Introduction to the special section on alternative futures for Great Basin ecosystems
    Chambers, Jeanne C., 2008. Climate change and the Great Basin
    Mazzola, Monica B.; Allcock, Kimberly G.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Blank, Robert R.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul S.; Nowak, Robert S., 2008. Effects of nitrogen availability and cheatgrass competition on the establishment of Vavilov Siberian wheatgrass
    Chambers, Jeanne C., 2008. Fire and the Great Basin
    Chambers, Jeanne C., 2008. Great Basin sagebrush ecosystems
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Devoe, Nora; Evenden, Angela, 2008. Introduction
    Rau, Benjamin M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Blank, Robert R.; Johnson, Dale W., 2008. Prescribed fire, soil, and plants: burn effects and interactions in the central Great Basin
    Whittaker, Alison; Roundy, Bruce; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Meyer, Susan E.; Blank, Robert; Kitchen, Stanley G.; Korfmacher, John L., 2008. The effect of herbaceous species removal, fire and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) on soil water availability in sagebrush steppe
    Chambers, Jeanne C., 2008. Water resources in the Great Basin
    MontBlanc, Eugenie M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brussard, Peter E., 2007. Variation in ant populations with elevation, tree cover, and fire in a pinyon-juniper-dominated watershed
    Chambers, Jeanne C.; McArthur, E. Durant; Monson, Steven B.; Meyer, Susan E.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Tausch, Robin J.; Blank, Robert R.; Bunting, Steve; Miller, Richard R.; Pellant, Mike; Roundy, Bruce A.; Walker, Scott C.; Whittaker, Alison, 2005. Sagebrush steppe and pinyon-juniper ecosystems: effects of changing fire regimes, increased fuel loads, and invasive species
    Removing young juniper trees with a chainsaw to restore a mountain big sagebrush community (photo by Jeremy Roberts)
    Sagebrush ecosystems and the more than 350 species that rely on them are highly imperiled due to persistent threats such as invasive annual grasses, pinyon and juniper expansion, and altered fire regimes. Understanding their relative resilience or recovery potential following wildfire or management treatments provides the basis for more effective selection of treatment areas and restoration strategies.
    New research from the Rocky Mountain Research Station on sagebrush ecosystems is being put to use to benefit Greater Sage-Grouse habitat on federal lands across the intermountain west.  An interagency effort initiated by the Western Association of Wildlife agencies and led by Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts Program Scientist, Jeanne Chambers, was used to develop a strategy for decreasing the impacts of invasive grasses and wildland fire on sage-grouse habitat.