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Landscape ecology


We are integrating multiple datasets, statistical modeling tools, and simulation approaches to quantify habitat and predict population responses by woodpecker and other wildlife species of conservation concern to natural disturbance (wildfire, bark beetle outbreaks) and forest management activities to inform adaptive management of dry conifer forests.
The RMRS Raster Utility is an object oriented coding library that facilitates a wide range of spatial and statistical analyses using novel statistical methods in a newly developed Function Modeling framework. This work includes: New tools for spatial and statistical analysis Readily available, easy to use, free, GIS software add-in Website describing software functionality and applications Code repository for others to integrate into their work Tu​torials and sample analyses  
To ensure that wetland habitats are conserved, an efficient means of identifying wetlands at risk of conversion is needed, especially in the southern United States where the rate of loss has been highest in recent decades.
The Colorado Plateau and Southern Great Plains continue to experience frequent droughts and high temperatures. On-going research examines whether even drought tolerant junipers may succumb to increased aridity and begin dying at increased rates, which could significantly alter fire regimes.
Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists and collaborators are working to determine how bark beetle attacks change the moisture and chemistry of several tree species and how these changes affect flammability. Findings will allow us to improve fire behavior and risk models to better predict and manage wildfires and protect property and human life. 
Areas inhabited by black-tailed prairie dogs are subject to continuous and intense disturbance by grazing and burrowing that directly and indirectly alter vegetation composition and structure compared to the surrounding uninhabited areas. The objective of this study is to evaluate patterns of vegetation heterogeneity within and among prairie dog colonies in the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains.
The climate niche for Wyoming big sagebrush was model for contemporary and 2050 climate. Climate change is predicted to have a negative impact on this subspecies with a 39% reduction in climate niche space between now and 2050.
Innovative quantitative approaches have been developed for evaluating wildfire and prescribed fire effects on wildlife communities in several western North American national forests.
This project explored fire behavior attributes under three levels of tree mortality in a southwestern U.S. forest dominated by ponderosa pine at three stages: pre-outbreak (“green stage”), immediately post-mortality when dead needles remain on trees (“red stage”), and when needles drop to the ground (“gray stage”).