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Climate Change


This project continues research that began in 1925, measuring trees within a study block that has used even and uneven-aged management techniques, to determine the growth and how climate variables may have impacted this. Previously-measured trees were remeasured in 2017, and tree data will be correlated with long-term weather data at FVEF. Measurements will continue to be taken into 2018.
Limber pine is threatened by climate change, white pine blister, dwarf mistletoe, and mountain pine beetle. Scientists have planted limber pine in two contrasting environments to assess adaptive trait variation and plasticity, as well as climate interactions. Research such as the International Limber Pine Provenance Study (ILPPS) will support proactive managment to keep limber pine populations sustainable and prevent limber pine from following the same trajectory as whitebark pine.
RMRS researcher Charles Luce and the Forest Service Intermountain Region Climate Change Coordinator Natalie Little are partnering with the Manti-La Sal National Forest to better distribute the most recent and relevant climate change knowledge to Regional and Forest leaders and staffs. A workshop for regional and forest staff is being developed to quickly integrate interactive planning climate change sessions into the Manti-La Sal National Forest's Forest Plan Revision. The goal of this project is to deliver usable, actionable information to land managers and Forest staff, and to provide research that is most helpful in the field.
There is a growing need for cost-effective tools that enable researchers to efficiently monitor and evaluate rangeland systems. RMRS researchers are partnering with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to enhance existing monitoring and modeling strategies, which assess rangeland conditions. This project will expand the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) user base, develop remote monitors, and build collaborative relationships inside and outside of the National Forest System.
The goal of this partnership between RMRS and the Curlew National Grassland is to restore pollinator habitats and understand the best strategies to support forest botanists. Through a series of projects, partners will look into the needs and pitfalls of creating a seed menu tool. Specifically, the project will analyze the effectiveness of strategically planted forbs, or "islands", in restoring pollinator communities.
The framework for restoring and conserving Great Basin wet meadows and riparian ecosystems builds upon long-term work by the research team on resilience of these ecosystems to stress and disturbance. Data and understanding of the resilience of watersheds, valley segments, and stream reaches for a large ecoregion (the central Great Basin) are being used to develop the Resilience-based Framework and to expand its applicability by assessing other common watershed types in the central and northern Great Basin.
The National Forest Climate Change Maps project was developed to meet the need of National Forest managers for information on projected climate changes at a scale relevant to decision making processes, including Forest Plans.  The maps use state-of-the-art science and are available for every National Forest in the contiguous United States with relevant data coverage. Currently, the map sets include variables related to precipitation, air temperature, snow (including April 1 snow-water equivalent (SWE) and snow residence time), and stream flow.
Knowing how environments might influence the degree and location of hybridization between these species represents a potentially powerful tool for managers. To address that need, we modeled how hybridization between westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout is influenced by stream characteristics that favor each species. On the Cutthroat trout-rainbow trout hybridization website, we describe that model, and provide high-resolution digital maps in user-friendly formats of the predictions of different levels of hybridization across the native range of westslope cutthroat trout in the Northern Rocky Mountains, representing both current conditions and those associated with warmer stream temperatures. Our goal is to help decision-makers gauge the potential for hybridization between cutthroat trout and rainbow trout when considering management strategies for conserving cutthroat trout.
The Southern Rockies Rust Resistance Trial (SRRRT) was initiated in 2013 to verify the stability of genetic resistance to white pine blister rust identified during artificial screening tests for limber and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines conducted in collaboration with Dorena Genetic Resource Center (Cottage Grove, OR). Over 700 seedlings were outplanted in the fall 2013 and another 700 seedlings in spring 2014. White pine blister rust is common in the forests in and around the SRRRT site providing a natural source of inoculum to the seedlings. The seedlings will be periodically assessed for signs and symptoms of white pine blister rust over the next 10 years – disease symptoms were first noted in 2016.
Forest surveys alone cannot predict species vulnerability as they cannot determine if the remaining healthy trees are at risk for disease or if they have heritable genetic resistance to support future populations. This project takes range-wide common garden (198 families) and artificial inoculation with Cronartium ribicola (causal agent of white pine blister rust) in order to better undertand host population vulnerability and sustainability.