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Climate Change

Science Spotlights

The photo shows a young long-needled pine tree less than a foot tall growing next to a wooden marker with the number 6 on it.
The Regeneration for Resilience (R4R) framework provides a decision structure to prioritize limited resources and utilize seedling planting and natural regeneration management to offer the best likelihood of success in positioning stands and landscapes to support resilience self-sustaining tree populations that are threatened by invasive pests. Effective management of forest regeneration dynamics can increase forest resilience and adaptive...
Rivers and streams of the American Southwest have been heavily altered by human activity, resulting in significant changes to disturbance regimes. Riparian vegetation in arid land floodplain systems is critically important as foraging, migrating, and breeding habitat to birds and other animal species. To conserve riparian ecosystems and organisms, understanding how plants and animals are affected by disturbance processes and multiple stressors...
The photo shows a land management personel in a grassland setting in the Chihuahuan Desert with a controlled burn in the foreground.
Using the best available science and tools, we can project the effects of today’s management actions on tomorrow’s non-forest vegetation assemblage, carbon, and productivity while considering changing climates. 
A Forest Service technician setting up a weather data-logger at a bluebunch wheatgrass common garden near Richfield Idaho.
Natural selection varies across landscapes and populations often adapt to local environmental conditions. Using a literature review of common garden studies published between 1941 and 2017, we documented the commonness of three signatures of local adaptation in plants native to North America's Great Basin. Our results demonstrate widespread habitat‐related population differentiation and local adaptation across the Great Basin. 
Close-up of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo from the Grand Canyon. Picture courtesy of National Park Service
The western distinct population segment of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (wYBC), listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, has experienced severe population declines due to loss and fragmentation of riparian habitats. To assist ongoing conservation efforts by the Audubon Tucson Society, we are implementing MaxEnt to model suitable habitat for wYBC in Arizona under current and future conditions.
Watershed following the Las Conchas Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest. Credit goes to: Anna Jaramillo-Scarborough
Wildfires, an important natural disturbance in southwestern ecosystems, can present challenges to resource managers, communities, and private landowners when they burn areas subject to post-fire flooding and erosion. Many government agencies and research institutions have developed science and management tools for estimating post-fire effects and mitigating risks in burned landscapes. We assessed the utility of currently available tools and...
Potential changes in vegetation distribution in Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, and adjacent Forest Service wilderness areas.
National parks, wilderness areas, and nature reserves were created to preserve a sample of pristine ecosystems, but even the most remote protected areas face serious threats from climate change. Managers would benefit from a better understanding how ecosystems within protected areas may respond to global warming.  
Tree planting after a wildfire on the Boise National Forest
The number of global initiatives for forest restoration, and the scope of these initiatives, continues to increase. An important tool for meeting objectives of these global initiatives is reforestation, achieved by natural processes or by tree planting. Worldwide, organizations are challenged to most efficiently and effectively direct resources to the most critical reforestation needs. Currently in the United States, the reforestation efforts of...
Annual PM2.5 emitted averaged over 2003-2015
Wildfires are a major source of fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) in the United States and can have substantial impacts on public health. In addition to acute pollution episodes, wildfires can have a marginal effect on air quality at significant distances from the source, presenting significant challenges to air regulators’ efforts to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Improved emission estimates are needed to quantify the...
Big sage mountain brush
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...

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