You are here

Landscape ecology

Science Spotlights

Permanent study plot in 2008 one year following timber harvest.
Scientists with the Rocky Mountain Research Station and university partners are investigating the short- and long-term resiliency of understory vegetation of ponderosa pine forests to a variety disturbances associated with timber harvest. Creating and maintaining a healthy forest relies on the resiliency of understory vegetation.
Sage grouse in a field
Recent connectivity assessments for the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Columbia Basin, Washington, provide an opportunity to (1) evaluate approaches for parameterizing resistance models based on sage grouse specifically or the concept of landscape integrity, (2) derive parameters from expert or empirical data, and (3) explore the influence of scale on model accuracy. Sage grouse in this region occupy a small fraction of...
Ferruginous hawk instrumented with a solar GPS transmitter.
Over the past decade and a half, raptors nesting in prairie ecosystems have been subject to sharp increases in nearby energy development activity. This research documents how nesting ferruginous hawks forage in oil and gas energy fields based on GPS telemetry. The purpose is to help managers and companies reflect conservation needs of this species in the management and arrangement of energy-development infrastructure.   
Fishers are a rare and secretive carnivore in the Rocky Mountains and along the West Coast.  They are currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  They are also being considered as a Species of Conservation Concern on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
The bull trout is an ESA-listed species that relies on cold stream environments across the Northwest and is expected to decline with climate change. Resource managers from dozens of agencies are charged with maintaining bull trout in thousands of streams, but monitoring this species is difficult. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is much faster, easier, and more sensitive than traditional fish sampling methods and provides an opportunity to better...
Habitat suitability models provide critical information needed for forest management plans to accommodate biodiversity conservation. We are developing GIS-based application tools for forest managers that requires minimal technical expertise to create habitat maps.
RMRS scientists recently completed a 10 year study of a population of threatened Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico. This study evaluated demography, habitat use, and diet composition of spotted owls, as well as forest structure characteristic of owl habitat. We determined that most owl nests are located in wet mixed-conifer forests not greatly in need of ecological restoration.
Riparian habitat along the Rio Grande, New Mexico
Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists have developed a coupled approach that combines species distribution models, predictions for future fire regime, and climate change vulnerability assessments to estimate the interactive impacts of climate change and fire on species that reside within riparian habitats in the Southwest.
View of the Desert Experimental Station and administrative buildings after a summer rain.
The Desert Experimental Range (DER) became an outdoor laboratory representative of a prominent ecosystem under stress with expectations that the research conducted there would have broad application.
The distribution of plant species and populations will likely be reshaped as climate changes. Understanding these changes is complex and requires the integration of multiple research disciplines including genetics, climate modeling and biogeography. This research focuses on blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima), a widespread shrub that straddles the ecotone, transition area between two plant communities, from the Great Basin and Mojave Desert...

Pages