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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Bob Keane

Robert E. Keane II

Supervisory Research Ecologist
5775 US West Highway 10
United States

Phone: 406-329-4846
Fax: 406-329-4877
Contact Robert E. Keane II

Current Research

My research includes 1) developing spatially explicit ecological computer simulation models for exploring landscape, fire, vegetation, and climate dynamics, 2) conducting wildland fuel science: the sampling, describing, modeling, and mapping of wildland fuel characteristics, and 3) exploring the ecology and restoration of whitebark pine.

Research Interests

I am interested in the landscape ecology of ecosystem processes, especially disturbance, climate, and vegetation, and the scales at which these processes interact. I am also interested in the high elevation forests of the northern Rocky Mountains of the US, especially the whitebark pine ecosystem (its decline and potential restoration). Recently I've done work in understanding the dynamics of wildland fuels - how fuels accumulate, how their properties change over time, and how they are impacted by disturbance

Past Research

I have developed several computer models that operate at many scales including CRBSUM, LANDSUM, WXFIRE, FireBGC, and FireBGCv2 landscape simulation models. I also developed the originalversions of the FOFEM (First Order Fire Effects Model) and I have written several fire hazard and analysis programs (FLEAT, FIREHARM). I also assisted in the development of FIREMON (a FIRE MONitoring sampling and database management system)and ECODATA ( an ecological inventory system). I was also lead scientists on the LANDFIRE prototype project and wrote many computer programs for that project including LF-BGC, LANDSUMv4, and WXFIRE. I have written several articles about the restoration of whitebark pine ecosystems and have documented decomposition, deposition, and accumulation rates of wildland fuels in the northern US Rocky Mountains. I have also conducted landscape ecology experiments in wildland fuels to aid in sampling and mapping.

Why This Research is Important

Long-term, spatially explicit field sampling is costly and time consuming, especially at the time scales of fire regimes, vegetation succession, and climate, so ecosystem modeling provides a valuable tool to evaluate effects of changing climate and disturbance regimes on landscape ecology and condition. Fuels are the most important management factor in manipulating fire behavior because it is the only factor that managers can control, yet we know very little of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of fuels over time and space. Last, whitebark pine forests are declining at alarming rates and new treatments are needed to restore these high elevation ecosystems.


  • University of Maine, Orono, B.S. Forest Engineering
  • University of Montana, Missoula, M.S. Forest Ecology
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, Ph.D. Forest Ecology

Professional Experience

  • Research Ecologist, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory
    1992 - Current
  • Research Forester, US Forest Service Intermountain Research Station Fire Sciences Laboratory
    1990 - 1992
  • Quantitative Ecologist, Systems for Environmental Management
    1986 - 1992
  • Research Assistant, University of Montana
    1982 - 1986
  • Research Technician, US Forest Service Intermountain Research Station and Northern Region
    1979 - 1982
  • Research Forester, Gradient Modeling Inc
    1978 - 1979

Professional Organizations

  • American Forests Association, Advisory Board Member (2012 - Current)
  • Association of Fire Ecology, Board Member (2010 - Current)
  • Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation, Board Member (2000 - Current)
  • International Association of Wildland Fire, Member (1998 - Current)
  • Montana Native Plant Society, Member (1990 - Current)
  • Northwest Science, Member (1990 - 2014)
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology, Secretary (2003 - 2008)

Awards & Recognition

  • Biswell Award for Scientific Achievement in wildland fire science, 2019
    International award presented by the Association of Fire Ecology
  • Outstanding Associate Editor , 2010
    Given by the International Journal of Wildland Fire

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


How to measure, describe and map wildland fuels

Results from a new study have profound implications for fire management and may render many conventional fuel products and analyses inappropriat ...


Mappint Project Delivers Fire Severity Maps for all Phases of Fire Management

Forest Service scientists and their cooperators developed the Fire Severity (FIRESEV) Mapping Project, a comprehensive set of tools and precedur ...


Restoring whitebark pine ecosystems in the face of climate change

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests are declining across most of their range in North America because of the combined effects of mountain ...


To Masticate or Not to Masticate: Useful tips for Treating Vegetation

Recently, several large fires have burned through masticated sites in Colorado, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere. Burning under extreme weat ...


Last updated on : 10/18/2021