US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
You are here: Home / People / Profile


Priority Areas

  • Climate Change
  • Forest Disturbances
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • Localized Needs (regional work)

The sites listed below are external or third-party sites which the Forest Service has provided for reference only.
Alexandra Urza

Alexandra K. Urza

Research Ecologist
920 Valley Road
United States

Phone: 775-784-7022
Contact Alexandra K. Urza

Current Research

I am a Research Ecologist with the Maintaining Resilient Dryland Ecosystems Science Program (Unit 4255) of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. I am a plant ecologist whose research has focused on the ecology of arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the western United States. My research uses observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to study plant community responses to fire, invasive species, climate change, and management treatments. Current research projects include examining the environmental drivers of post-fire sagebrush establishment, a common garden study of drought-resistant seedling traits in pinyon pine, and a regional-scale analysis of indicators of ecological resilience in the sagebrush biome.

Research Interests

I am interested in plant community responses to disturbance, effects of climate variability on seedling establishment, biotic interactions, drivers of species invasions, and the ecological effects of management treatments. Much of my work considers how these processes vary across the landscape in relation to environmental heterogeneity. I work primarily in cold desert shrublands and woodlands.

Past Research

My past research includes multi-scale drivers of vegetation dynamics at the woodland-shrubland interface in the Great Basin, climate effects on post-fire mixed conifer forest recovery in the Northern Rockies, and aspen responses to management efforts in Wyoming.

Why This Research is Important

Dryland ecosystems of the western US are facing many threats, including warming temperatures, increasing fire, and widespread invasions by non-native species. Anticipating ecosystem responses to environmental change, and designing appropriate management interventions, requires an understanding of the underlying ecological processes and how these vary across the landscape.


  • University of Nevada-Reno, Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology 2018
  • Colorado State University, M.S. Ecology 2012
  • Reed College, B.A. International Policy Studies 2006

Professional Experience

  • Research Ecologist, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Reno, NV
    2020 - Current
  • Postdoctoral Research Ecologist, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    2018 - 2020
  • Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Cedarville, CA
    2012 - 2014
  • Contracted Research Ecologist, US Geological Survey, Ft. Collins, CO
    2011 - 2012

Featured Publications & Products


Citations of non US Forest Service Publications

  • Urza, Alexandra K.; Sibold, Jason S. 2013. Non-destructive aging of postfire seedlings for four conifer species in northwestern Montana, USA. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 28: 22-29
  • Urza, Alexandra K.; Sibold, Jason S. 2017. Climate and seed availability initiate alternate post-fire trajectories in a lower subalpine forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 28: 43-56
  • Redmond, Miranda D.; Kelsey, K. C.; Urza, Alexandra K.; Barger N. N. 2017. Interacting effects of climate and landscape physiography on piƱon pine growth using an individual-based approach. Ecosphere 8(3): e01681
  • Urza, Alexandra K.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Dhaemers, Jessica M.; Board, David. 2017. Post-fire vegetation response at the woodland-shrubland interface is mediated by the pre-fire community. Ecosphere 8(3): e01851
  • Vitali, Alessandro; Urbinati, Carlo; Weisberg, Peter J.; Urza, Alexandra K.; Garbarino, Matteo. 2018. Effects of natural and anthropogenic drivers on land-cover change and treeline dynamics in the Apennines (Italy). Journal of Vegetation Science 29: 189-199

Last updated on : 07/14/2021