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Science Bulletins & Newsletters

The Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona, which consist of separate mountain ranges within a desert matrix, are a unique biodiversity hotspot hosting many neotropical bird species that cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States Residents of this region depend on ecotourism for their livelihood and there is an above-average concentration of citizens skilled at identifying birds by sight and sound.
Historically, the ponderosa and dry mixed-conifer forests of the Colorado Front Range were more open and grassy, and trees of all size classes were found in a grouped arrangement with sizable openings between the clumps. As a legacy of fire suppression, today’s forests are denser, with smaller trees. Proactive restoration of this forest type will help to reduce fuel loads and the risk of large and severe wildfires in the Colorado Front Range.
The new eDNAtlas website and dynamic database allows land managers, scientists and the public to access results from environmental DNA (eDNA) collected from aquatic systems throughout the United States.
In this issue of the GSD Update, we feature selected studies of the RMRS Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems Science Program (GSD) that focus on the theme of fire. Significant results of recent research and science delivery by GSD scientists are highlighted. We feature program research that lines up with the strategic priorities and goals of the USDA Forest Service (USFS).
In this issue, we cover new research on wide-ranging topics from the longterm effects of drought on competition between native and invasive plant species, to the effects of drought on pollinator visitation to invasive plants, to a novel use of insect pheromones to improve biocontrol of invasive saltcedar.
Wilderness management can be tricky. The conservationist Aldo Leopold, who is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the U.S. wilderness system, was probably thinking about this when he said, “All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must Wilderness managers in North Cascades National Park opted for chemical treatments to remove invasive fish species.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which preserves selected rivers that have outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values.
The Rocky Mountain Research Station recently published a general technical report addressing climate change vulnerability in the Rocky Mountain Region. This report, entitled Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems in the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, focuses on six ecosystems.
Biological soil crusts are a complex of microscopic organisms growing on the soil surface in many arid and semi-arid ecosystems. These crusts perform the important role of stabilizing soil and reducing or eliminating water and wind erosion. One of the largest threats to biological soil crusts in the arid and semi-arid areas of the western United States is mechanical disturbance from vehicle traffic and grazing.
In this issue of the GSD Update, we take a look back at selected studies of the Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems Science Program (GSD) that depict its strengths and focus areas. Significant results of recent research and science delivery by GSD scientists are highlighted. We feature program research that lines up with the strategic priorities of the USDA Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS).

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