AWAE research in Disturbance Ecology is focused on knowledge discovery and development, modeling and synthesis to understand causes, consequences and interactions of fire, invasive species, insects, pathogens, climate change, and other disturbances and stressors, and ecological responses and outcomes of land uses and management actions. This research priority addresses uncertainty regarding what to expect from natural and anthropogenic disturbances, exploring why disturbances occur, characterizing their spatial and temporal distribution, and elucidating disturbance outcomes and consequences.
Detect, assess, characterize and model causes and impacts of wild fires in relation to fire history, frequency, severity and intensity and with respect to responses at multiple ecological levels (ecosystems, watersheds, communities, and species) and at different spatial and temporal scales. Learn more about the most current science findings and tools relevant to management of aquatic systems in fire prone landscapes at the AWAE Fire & Aquatic Ecosystems page.
Native Species as Disturbance Agents
Improve understanding of the ecology and role of native species, diseases and pathogens as disturbance agents. Detect, assess, characterize and model causes, impacts and outcomes of environmental changes resulting from insect outbreaks (e.g., bark beetles), diseases and pathogens. Responses are assessed at multiple ecological levels and temporal and spatial scales. Examples of related AWAE research includes: Mountain Pine Beetle Effects on Lodgepole Pine Forests
Determine, characterize, and model how interactions among different types of disturbances influence ecosystem and watershed function and structure, community dynamics and diversity, and species and population vulnerability, demography and responses. Examples of related AWAE research includes: Adaptation for Wildland Aquatic Resources
Non-native Invasive Species
Invasive species have significantly impacted U.S. ecosystems and cost millions of dollars to prevent, detect, and control. The Forest Service provides the scientific information, tools, and methods needed by regulators, managers, and the public to address invasive species. Researchers detect, assess, characterize and model causes and consequences of non-native invasive species, diseases and pathogens. Consequences involve the detection of responses at multiple ecological levels including ecosystems, watersheds, communities and species' populations, and over different temporal and spatial scales. Please see the AWAE Invasive Species page for examples of related AWAE research.
Land Use, Restoration & Management
Using experimentation, assessments and modeling, improve understanding of beneficial and unfavorable responses to environmental changes resulting from land uses, resource extractions, and management actions. Emerging issues such as energy and urban developments and vegetation treatments for restoration as well as traditional uses such as logging and grazing are addressed. Results are used by managers to reduce unintended effects and improve stewardship approaches (i.e., adaptive management) and maintain long-term sustainability. Examples of related AWAE research includes: Salvage Logging Effects on Lodgepole Pine Forests
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