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Forest and Woodland Ecosystems

Santa Rita mountains

Assessing effects of wildfire and climate change on avian communities and habitats

The Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona contain a unique avifauna occupying diverse habitats created by the mixing of Madrean and Cordilleran flora and fauna. The avifauna within these mountains includes many neotropical migratory bird species, as well as many species typical of western North American montane forests.
Myrtle rust

Myrtle rust: evaluating pathways of spread and assessing future risk

Myrtle rust is the cause of rust disease of many host species in the Myrtaceae, including guava, eucalypts and rose apple. Despite the potential threats to numerous forest ecosystems world-wide, we are only beginning to understand the genetic structure of pathogen populations, possible pathways of spread, and potential sources of introductions.
Bristlecone pine

Innovative control and management of white pine blister rust

High elevation white pines and the headwater ecosystems they occupy are threatened by the non-native lethal disease white pine blister rust (WPBR). Many ecosystems in the west are already impacted and the continued spread of the pathogen over time is inevitable.
Masticated pinyon-juniper

Do mastication treatments enhance exotic invasive species?

Mechanical mastication is a fuel treatment that is increasingly prescribed to reduce aerial fuel continuity in forests or to remove encroaching trees in shrublands. Mastication shreds trees and shrubs and distributes the resulting woody debris across the topsoil, moving aerial fuels to the soil surface.
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The Forest and Woodland Ecosystems (FWE) Science Program acquires, develops, and delivers scientific knowledge and management tools for sustaining and restoring the health, biodiversity, productivity, and ecosystem processes of forest and woodland landscapes. This research is critical in light of the multiple and varied threats that these ecosystems face, including urbanization and human developments, extreme wildfire events, insect and disease outbreaks, exotic species invasions, and drought.

FWE scientists conduct short- and long-term research across a wide geographic area, with an emphasis on:

  • Spatial and temporal patterns of disturbance,

  • Managing complex landscapes in a changing environment,

  • Consequences of management activities,

  • Adaptive capacity of forests and woodlands, and

  • Mitigation of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide.