A researcher collects soil samples from volcanic-derived soil in the Heén Latinee Experimental Forest within the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. These samples were later analyzed to determine the carbon content. USDA Forest Service photo by Dave D'Amore.
Soil absorbs an estimated 30 percent of fossil fuel carbon emissions. The exact amount and location of carbon stored in soil, however, is not well quantified and can vary with local environmental conditions. Accurately assessing soil carbon storage is a management priority because these estimates are needed for updating land management plans and better understanding the global carbon cycle.
A forest study plot 20 years after mechanical thinning followed by a prescribed burn. USDA Forest Service photo by George McCaskill.
The Hungry Bob fuels reduction site in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was part of a national Fire and Fire Surrogate network of experiments across the United States during the 1990s through 2000s. At the Hungry Bob site, scientists designed an experiment to test the effects of mechanical thinning and prescribed burning in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests of northeastern Oregon.
An elk on the move; image captured by a remote trail camera. Elk respond to the abundance of green forage that appears after prescribed fire, selecting burned sites during spring and early summer for more than a decade later. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The benefits of prescribed fire can go beyond mitigating fire risk. In fact, prescribed fires can support wildlife by creating new habitat or improving existing habitat. In the two to five years following a prescribed fire, burned areas often sustain more grasses and forbs, which offer abundant food for large herbivores like elk and their offspring.
A walk with Vive Northwest near Vancouver, Washington. USDA Forest Service photo by Matthew Helmer.
Public land managers are eager to welcome diverse populations to national forests, parks, and monuments. Current information about user preferences, desired features, and existing barriers to accessibility is essential so recreation managers can plan accordingly.
Scientists collected data on stream temperature, aquatic species like fish and invertebrates, streamside vegetation, and channel morphology. Photo credit: Heather Kolowinski.
Wherever there are mountains and rainfall, there will be debris flows. Starting as a landslide and acting like an avalanche, a debris flow is an unconsolidated mass of loose material that travels rapidly down a stream channel.
Prairie lupine growing on the slopes leading down to Spirit Lake, with Mount Rainier visible in the distance. USDA Forest Service photo by Shannon Claeson.
Mount St. Helens, located in southwest Washington, erupted 40 years ago on May 18, 1980. The largest landslide in recorded history filled valleys below with debris, and ash fell from the sky for weeks, blanketing the nearby area and affecting regions as far away as the Rocky Mountains. Within 2 weeks, ash from the blast had circled the globe.
People play in Looking Glass Waterfall, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. USDA Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo.
Recreation management is becoming trickier as population densities increase and more and more people seek out natural areas for solitude, beauty, and an antidote to screen time. Research can help recreation managers.
The pygmy shorthorned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii) may benefit from greater sage-grouse restoration projects. Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gettelman, Yakima Training.
The greater sage‐grouse inhabits the vast sagebrush ecosystems of western North America, including eleven U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. This ground-nesting bird benefits from millions of acres of habitat conservation and restoration that have taken place since the ﬁrst petition to federally list it under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2002.
Juvenile lamprey caught in a coastal draining stream in southern Oregon. Photo credit: South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Pacific lamprey and western brook lamprey coexist in streams along the southern Oregon coast. Pacific lamprey are anadromous, spending part of their lives in fresh water and part in the ocean. Like salmon, adult Pacific lamprey return to their home streams to spawn, whereas western brook lamprey are not anadromous and remain in freshwater streams throughout their life cycles.
An example of how the MotionMeerkat program identifies movement in continuous videos. Here, a remote camera captured footage of a black-backed woodpecker approaching its cavity nest in a ponderosa pine.
Remote video cameras are increasingly being used in noninvasive wildlife monitoring because they are relatively inexpensive and widely available. Reviewing and analyzing so many hours of recorded footage, however, can be prohibitively time-intensive and lead to viewer fatigue and errors.