USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service
Bookmark and Share

» Wildlife Research

Wolverines and climate change

A wolverine in Glacier National Park in the summer.

Understanding the effects of a warming climate on wolverine habitat is essential to their conservation in the contiguous United States. The animal’s range includes cold areas, typically arctic or alpine habitats, with deep snow cover that remains through the end of the reproductive denning period in mid-May.

In the Western contiguous United States, wolverine habitat occurs in an archipelago of alpine meadows and subalpine parklands. However, continued warming in those regions is expected to cause wolverines to seek habitat at higher elevations, decreasing its geographic extent and connectivity. Although large continuous areas of wolverine habitat are likely to persist throughout the 21st century, such areas will become smaller and more isolated.

Contact: Keith Aubry,


Monograph provides spotted owl analysis

 Northern spotted owl .

Station scientists collaborated with 27 northern spotted owl researchers associated with 12 institutions or agencies to produce a monograph that provides the most complete picture of the owl’s population status to date.

This publication assesses relationships between reproductive and recruitment rates and related issues such as habitat, weather, and the invasive barred owl. Population Demography of Northern Spotted Owls demonstrates how collaboration among scientists can provide an analysis template for species assessments and conservation. A draft version of this analysis was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop its Spotted Owl Recovery plan.

Contact: Eric Forsman,


Elk population management tools

YAn elk browses at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range.Photo by Rachel Cook

Elk are widely distributed across western Oregon and Washington, and hunting and viewing of this animal contribute substantially to rural economies. Elk habitat models and management guidelines had become outdated, so station scientists updated elk nutrition and habitat selection models.

An innovative approach incorporates the latest research on elk nutrition and current spatial data. Scientists also created maps of nutritional adequacy for elk to evaluate how public access and other factors limit the degree to which nutritional resources are available to elk. Modeling results are now used to update and integrate elk habitat and population management among state and federal agencies, Indian tribes, hunting organizations, and other interested groups.

Contact: Mary Rowland,



Wildlife search for food

Postfire establishment of tree seedlings.

Many wildlife species must move across the landscape in search of food throughout the year. As human populations increase and more land is developed, links between wildlife and habitats are lost.

To address these issues, the Western Governors Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative and state wildlife action plans call for incorporating wildlife corridors into landscape management planning. Station scientists were asked to help assess regional habitat connectivity patterns for 16 focal species, natural landscape integrity connectivity patterns, and climate gradient patterns. The scientists along with the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group completed a geographic information system (GIS) analysis of the habitat conditions in the state.

The Washington Department of Transportation is using the information and GIS data in statewide transportation planning. Washington Department of Fish and Games is also using the information in planning efforts.

Contact: Peter Singleton,


Featured Scientist

Peter Singleton studies barred owl habitat selection and landscape use patterns in Washington state's eastern Cascades. For over a decade, he also has been exploring ways to preserve habitat connectivity and landscape permeability in the Pacific Northwest.

In one collaborative project, Singleton and his colleagues used geographic information system models that they developed to identify places where highways pass through areas that are important for wildlife movement. By taking into consideration factors like land cover, elevation, slope, and human population density, the models allow Singleton and his colleagues to identify wildlife crossing structures that increase highway safety.

The models also help managers maintain healthy wildlife populations near crossings like culverts and grass-covered bridges, and facilitate the rerouting of animals—ranging from rodents and amphibians to wolverines and bears—across roadways. Findings from this work are being used along Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state.

Contact him at


Tools and Software

Equations quantify nutritional quality of moose forage

In boreal, or far-north, ecosystems, moose are the dominant plant-eating browsers. Where and what they consume has implications for the entire landscape, and their own survival. For the first time, land managers and wildlife scientists around the world have a method to predict the nutritional quality of wild, native moose forage. The equations, based on laboratory analyses of forage samples, can help to evaluate habitat quality for moose anywhere in the world. Learn more

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday,05August2014 at09:42:22CDT

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site. Untitled Document