US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Brian R. Sturtevant

Research Ecologist
5985 Highway K
United States

Phone: 715-362-1105
Contact Brian R. Sturtevant

Current Research

I am interested in the multi-scale processes affecting the health and function of forested and mixed-use landscapes, and I have focused on three research avenues falling under this broader theme. First, I am investigating the spatial-temporal dynamics and impacts of disturbance by forest insect defoliators, using a combination of remote sensing, pattern analysis, and simulation modeling. Second, I am investigating interactions between natural and human processes as they influence fire dynamics. This research includes analyses of modern fire databases in the upper Midwest, and the simulation of fire disturbance patterns as influenced by human activities, forest management, and insect disturbances. Third, I am working with Canadian scientists to develop a multi-scale toolkit approach to providing information for sustainable forest management across diverse ecological and socioeconomic systems.

Research Interests

I will continue to pursue our understanding of the drivers underlying spatial patterns of insect disturbances, employing technologies from other disciplines including molecular techniques and atmospheric modeling. The effect of climate change on insect disturbance regimes is another key area of research I wish to pursue. Finally, I am interested in how human development patterns will interact with forest disturbances and other ecosystem processes at decade to century time scales.

Why This Research is Important

Insects cause more economic damage to forest resources in the conterminous United States than any other disturbance, but our understanding of the landscape-scale factors affecting their dynamics is poorly understood. Insight into landscape pattern interacts with the dynamics of forest pests can lead to the design of pest-resistant landscapes through forest management. We also know that humans have enormous influence over the structure and character of our forested land base. Understanding how forested systems respond to human processes will allow managers to better balance multiple and sometimes conflicting objectives for our public lands (e.g., biodiversity, recreation, public safety, water quality, etc.). This new complexity in land management also requires effective decision support tools to enable land managers to make better strategic decisions based on the best available science.


  • University of Maryland at College Park, Ph.D. Ecology 2001
  • Utah State University, M.S. Wildlife Ecology 1996
  • Rutgers University, B.S. Natural Resources Management 1992

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Landscape Ecology (U.S. Chapter)
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Society for Conservation Biology

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Bird Monitoring in the Western Great Lakes National Forests Shows Stabilized Breeding Bird Populations

The results from 20 years of forest bird monitoring in four national forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin show positive trends in breeding bird po ...


Changes in Host Abundance Following Harvesting Desynchronize Forest Insect Pest Outbreaks

A Forest Service scientist led an international team to investigate how different historic forest management practices have affected spruce budw ...


Modeling wolf-moose forest interactions at Isle Royale National Park

The loss of top predators may have unintended consequences for forest composition and function. Forest Service scientists partnered with the U.S ...


Scaling Up Ecosystem Impacts of the Pagami Creek Fire in Northern Minnesota

Quantifying fire severity is critical to understanding the ecosystem impacts of wildfire. Forest Service research demonstrates the magnitude of ...


Scientists Predict Survivability Factors for Northern Forests Given Elevated CO2 and Ozone Levels

The researchers scaled up a high-profile 11-year ecosystem experiment called Aspen-FACE to assess how elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels m ...


Scientists model the effects of restoring the American chestnut tree to the eastern U.S. landscape

The American chestnut tree is fast growing, somewhat tolerant of shade, and its wood is resistant to decay. The chestnut tree might be capable o ...


Simulation Modeling of Forest Landscape Disturbances

Simulation models of landscape disturbances have proliferated and matured. A Forest Service scientist co-edited the book “Simulation Modeling ...


Spruce Budworm Effects on Fire Risk and Vegetation in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Insect-killed trees do not necessarily increase fire risk


Last updated on : 09/02/2020