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The Forest Service has developed a new cross-boundary assessment tool that maps 240 million acres where significant wildfire ignitions can potentially impact over 1,800 Western communities. This new framework is described in the report Cross-boundary Wildfire and Community Exposure Assessment (RMRS-General Technical Report-392), which was recently released by the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and Oregon State University.
* News release issued by the International Institute of Tropical Forestry
An unprecedented conservation effort is underway across 11 Western states to address threats to sagebrush ecosystems and the many species that depend on them. Today, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior released the Science Framework for Conservation and Restoration of the Sagebrush Biome (Part 2). The Science Framework provides a transparent, ecologically responsible approach for making policy and management decisions...
* News release issued by the American Geophysical Union
The Arapahoe snowfly was something of an enigma. This small stonefly, an aquatic insect important to trout and familiar to trout anglers, was thought to be rare and found only in a small area of northern Colorado. This limited presence earned it a Candidate species status under the Endangered Species Act and protections as a Sensitive Species on Forest Service lands. Researchers recently found that the Arapahoe snowfly is actually not a distinct...
An innovative new project has discovered that animal footprints contain enough DNA to allow for species identification. Scientists have traditionally relied on snow-tracks and camera traps to monitor populations of rare carnivores, like Canada lynx, fishers and wolverines. These traditional techniques can tell part of, but not the entire story of an animal population, and are sometimes difficult to validate species identification. 
Land managers need cost-effective unbiased monitoring and assessments of current rangeland conditions and past vegetation performance in order to improve rangeland management. 
Do severe wildfires impact rivers and reservoirs years after they burn? In Colorado, at the site of the 2002 Hayman Fire, a new study found that watersheds with extensive high-severity wildfire still contained elevated levels of streamwater nitrogen. While elevated nitrogen and carbon in burned watersheds are not a threat to drinking water quality, they do exceed expected levels for healthy streams in this area. 
Throughout the western United States, whitebark pine is experiencing high mortality, leading to concern about long-term viability of whitebark pine and other species that depend on it. Two new studies of whitebark pine in the western U.S. show that this species continues to die-off in alarming numbers and identifies locations where forest managers may be able to encourage growth of young whitebark pines.
Have you ever touched a hot pepper and then rubbed your eyes? Chances are you will not want to go near the pepper again. A new study found that you can use this same concept to deter rodents from eating seeds, thus protecting investments in native plant restoration efforts.

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