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Landscape ecology

Projects

Located on the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest, this project uses a common garden approach to determine which plant species are best suited for supporting pollinator communities and are most appropriate for restoration activities. Findings from the study will be used to 1) improve pollinator habitat, 2) increase seed stocks of native flowering species for use in restoration, 3) inform U.S. seed zone guidelines and 4) help predict plant-pollinator response to climate change. This carries on a long tradition at the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest of using common gardens in botanical research. As far back as the 1920s and 30s common gardens were used to study evapotranspiration rates of native herbaceous and shrub species as well as evaluate the potential use of certain species for erosion control. Some of these the same gardens are now being restored nearly a century later for use in this study.
This project incorporates historical data collected at the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest nearly 100 years ago to determine how plant communities have changed over that period of time.
The Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest (SAEF) Vegetation Mapping Project uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to create highly detailed vegetation maps using Structure From Motion technology.  These maps are then used to overlay historical vegetation maps made nearly 100 years ago to determine how vegetation has changed over the last century.
The research objective is to develop western white pine management strategies focused on regeneration establishment and young forest development by 1) developing canopy opening size thresholds where western white pine can establish and grow, 2) developing alternative tending methods to enable managers to continue to manage western white pine plantations, 3) evaluating plantation resilience to wildfire, and 4) evaluating understory plant diversity under 30-year or older western white pine plantations.  
Through fire management and riparian ecosystem restoration RMRS researchers Terrie Jain, Kate Dwire, and Travis Warziniack are partnering with the University of Idaho and the Idaho City Ranger District to develop, implement, and evaluate different adaptive management strategies to improve the fire resiliency of the Boise National Forest. 
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an ecologically important species in high-altitude areas of the West due to the habitat and food source it provides for Clark’s nutcrackers, red squirrels, grizzly bears, and other animals. Whitebark pine stands have recently experienced high mortality due to wildfire, white pine blister rust, and a mountain pine beetle outbreak, leading to questions about the species’ long-term viability. This project seeks to quantify the current distribution and regeneration status of whitebark pine throughout its US range.
We will deliver a spatially explicit predictive tool depicting resilience to disturbance and resistance to cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion across the Great Basin.
The Lassen and Modoc National Forests are revising their Forest Plans, guided by the 2012 Planning Rule. This requires public and tribal input throughout the process and embraces the fact that ecological, social, and economic objectives are interrelated. Because ecological, social, and economic conditions have changed since the original forest plans were written and new science is available, preparing a science synthesis, guided by input from the public, tribes, and forest staffs, is the first step in a multi-step process that eventually leads to revised forest plans.
FPARDY (Fuel PARticle DYnamics), is one of many new efforts to explore surface fuel characteristics at the particle, layer, and fuelbed levels across major forest ecosystem types in the US northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) to develop a set of products that integrate these findings into standard fuel applications.
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.

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