I conduct research on historical and current disturbance processes and their effects on the composition, structure and stability of shrublands, woodlands, and forests of the Central Intermountain Region (USA). Studies include:1. Mult-century fire regime and forest reconstructions of Utah and eastern Nevada uplands.2. Fire-vegetation interactions for mountain sagebrush communities.3. Long-term interacting effects of livestock grazing practices, invasive weeds and climate variability on cold-desert ecosystems.I investigate intra-specific variation in life-history attributes for widely-adapted grass, forb and shrub species from the Intermountain West. Attributes of interest include: reproductive potential, mechanisms for seed germination regulation, requirements for seedling establishment and plant longevity.I collaborate in the testing and development of native plant germplasm for use in restoration plantings.
My interests are to use knowledge of past disturbance patterns and vegetation dynamics and their interactions to inform the development of present and future wildland management strategies; improve understanding of interactions between cronic disturbance processes (such as livestock grazing), invasive weeds and climate variability and change; and provide tools (including plant materials) for restoring functional, resilient plant communities.
Successful management and restoration strategies require a thorough understanding of natural disturbance regimes and their effects on vegetation. Fire histories provide a means to describe and quantify variation in fire regimes from past eras at various scales of time and space and to assess the ecological effects of current departures from historical conditions.For management and restoration strategies to be successful into the future, improved understanding is needed of the interactions of altered patterns of disturbance, invasive species and climate change.
I have explored within-species variation in seed dormancy and germination regulation for several widely adapted perennial forb, grass and shrub speces with numerous publications.I co-led a program to develop standardized protocols for testing seed purity, viability and germinability for numerous forb, grass and shrub species important for wildland restoration plantings.My work contributed substatially to the release of 'Anatone' bluebunch wheatgrass and Maple Grove' Lewis flax gerplasms for use in restoration plantings.