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Managers require quantitative yet tractable tools that identify areas for restoration yielding effective benefits for targeted wildlife species and the ecosystems they inhabit.
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) has recently experienced high mortality due to multiple stressors, and future population viability may rely on natural regeneration. We assessed whitebark pine seedling densities throughout the US Rocky Mountains and identified stand, site, and climatic variables related to seedling presence based on data from 1,217 USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis plots.
Monitoring and classifying forest disturbance using Landsat time series has improved greatly over the past decade, with many new algorithms taking advantage of the high-quality, cost free data in the archive.
The complexity and demands of wildland firefighting in the western U.S. have increased over recent decades due to factors including the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, lengthening fire seasons associated with climate change, and changes in vegetation due to past fire suppression and timber harvest.
The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) is a cool-water fish species native to central North America. Widespread introductions and secondary spread outside of its historical range have led to new recreational fisheries and associated economic benefits in western United States, but have also resulted in a number of ecological impacts to recipient ecosystems, including threats to Pacific salmon.
Pyrenophora semeniperda can infect nondormant Bromus tectorum seeds under optimal germination conditions, but most escape mortality. This reduces pathogen fitness relative to infection of dormant seeds, which are almost always killed.
The breakdown of host resistance to plant pathogens is of critical concern in agriculture, forestry, and the management of natural systems. Evolution of the fungal poplar rust pathogen Melampsora larici-populina has been shown to have been dramatically influenced by the deployment of resistance genes in commercial poplar (Populus spp.) plantations, with pathogen populations inundated by virulent genotypes (Xhaard et al. 2011).
Adapting to climate change, or adjusting to current or future climate and its effects (Noble et al. 2014), is critical to minimizing the risks associated with climate change impacts.
Provenance tests of 49 populations of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) revealed moderate genetic differentiation for growth potential (growth under conditions approaching physiological optimum). Moderate genetic differentiation was also detected for survival after more than 10 years under warm-dry climate in the field but not for unconditional expected height, which was considered the best available predictor of fitness.
Dendroecology is the science that dates tree rings to their exact calendar year of formation to study processes that influence forest ecology (e.g., Speer 2010 [1], Amoroso et al., 2017 [2]). Reconstruction of past fire regimes is a core application of dendroecology, linking fire history to population dynamics and climate effects on tree growth and survivorship.