US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Robert G. Bailey, Geographer, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Robert G. Bailey

240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins
United States

Phone: 970-498-2617
Contact Robert G. Bailey

Current Research

My research focuses on identifying and mapping regions with similar ecosystem patterns, known as ecoregions. I also research the origins of ecosystem patterns in a particular ecoregion and their relevance to sustainable design and planning, inventory and global change monitoring

Research Interests

I will continue working in the field of ecosystem geography, the study of how and why ecosystems of different size are distributed, to provide guidance, educational programs, and resources (maps, books, journal articles) for ecoregion-based planning and design.

Past Research

This research addresses the origins of ecosystem patterns from global to local scale. It describes how understanding these patterns can help scientists and managers in two ways. First, the local systems are shown within context of larger systems. This perspective can be applied in assessing the connections between action at one scale and effect at another, the spatial transferability of models, and the links between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Second, they are given information about the geographic patterns in ecosystems. Consequently, they are in a better position to design sampling networks, transfer knowledge, and analyze ecosystem diversity. The usefulness of multi-scale analysis of ecosystem patterns suggests new scientific directions for research and points the way for restructuring the Forest Service research programs.

Why This Research is Important

I conceived and developed the ecoregion concept, which has been adopted as the primary land management and conservation model by the Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club,World Wildlife Fund, and other notable agencies and organizations. Published widely on this topic, including three textbooks. Work cited over 500 times in 198 scientific journals. (Source: Institute for Scientific Information)


  • San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge), B.A. Geography 1964
  • San Fernando Valley State College, M.A. Geography 1967
  • University of California - Los Angeles, Ph.D. Geography (specialization in geomorphology) 1971

Professional Experience

  • Geographer, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO
    2005 - Current
    Provides advice and consultation, education, and resources, and conducts research on matters related to the ecosystem geography of the Nation and its relevance to sustainable design and planning, inventory, and monitoring.
  • Geographer, Inventory & Monitoring Institute, Fort Collins, CO, part of the national headquarters office in Washington, DC
    1998 - 2005
    Continued work in ecogeographic analysis; in charge of ecoregion studies.
  • Supervisory Geographer/Program Manager, Land Management Planning Systems (subsequently Ecosystem Management Analysis Center), Fort Collins, CO, part of Forest Service National Headquarters in Washington, DC
    1982 - 1998
    As Program Manager oversaw development of computer-assisted analysis tools for forest planning. As Geographer provided national leadership in ecogeographic analysis (a process that divides landscapes into ecosystem management units); published on numerous topics, including: the use of overlay mapping for planning, design of ecological networks for monitoring global change, the distribution of patterns of ecosystems from local to global scales; mapped and described the regional scale ecosystems (ecoregions) of the Earth.
  • Geographer, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    1978 - 1982
    Served as member of interagency Resources Evaluation Techniques Program; worked on methodology and philosophy for an integrated approach to classifying land as ecosystems; developed method for testing an ecosystem regionalization.
  • Hydrologist/Geologist, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT
    1972 - 1978
    Analyzed the distribution of ecosystems at the regional scale by interpreting the relationships between landform (geology and topography), climate, soil, and plant and animal life. Developed an ecosystem regionalization system and map of the United States that has been adopted as the primary land management and conservation model by the Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and other notable agencies and organizations.
  • Hydrologist, Lake Tahoe Basin Planning Team, CA
    1971 - 1972
    Derived a land capability classification for use in land use regulations. The result was a land use ordinance that divided the region into seven capability classes. For each class, impervious surface allowances were designed to limit development intensity in sensitive areas. Report: "Land-Capability Classification of the Lake Tahoe Basin, California-Nevada--A Guide for Planning."
  • Hydrologist, Teton National Forest, WY
    1970 - 1971
    Classified and mapped landslides, analyzed regional factors contributing to their occurrence and developed scheme for predicting future slides. The result was unstable slopes were removed from future timber harvest. Report: "Landslide Hazards Related to Land Use Planning in Teton National Forest, Northwest Wyoming."
  • Geographer, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT
    1967 - 1970
    Developed method to predict the effects of increased discharge from dams and transmountain diversions on channel stability of semi-arid rivers, an important source of municipal water in the West.
  • Geographer, Pacific SW Forest & Range Exp. Sta., San Dimas Experimental Forest, near Los Angeles, CA
    1966 - 1967
    Analyzed the effects on stream systems of converting chaparral-covered hillsides to grass to increase water yield in southern California watersheds.

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Last updated on : 07/12/2019