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Angela M. White

Angela M. White
Research Wildlife Biologist
Conservation of Biodiversity Program
1731 Research Park
Davis, CA 95618
United States
Phone
530-759-1722
Current Research

My current research is focused on providing data and decision-making support to help manage our National Forests to meet multi-use objectives. I oversee several projects at various sites across the Sierra Nevada investigating the short and long-term impacts of different forest management practices on wildlife communities and populations. This includes analyzing data collected on habitat characteristics and wildlife using Before-After-Control-Impact studies, closed and open population models and trend analysis. Part of my research entails using applied quantitative research to build multi-species occupancy models to assist managers in understanding the impact of their management actions and the uncertainties in species' persistence in the face of climate change.

I also participate in several multi-disciplinary teams investigating the impact of forest management projects on ecosystem function in the Sierra Nevada. These groups include the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP), a joint venture by the University of California, government agencies and the public and a multi-institutional project funded by the California Energy Commission investigating the sustainability of biomass fuel production. These teams include managers from state and federal agencies, soil scientists, hydrologists, fire ecologists, wildlife biologists and social scientists.

Past Research

My professional career has included work nationally and internationally and I have had wide exposure to the challenges and complexities associated with the management of natural resources at the species, landscape and socio-political levels. I have worked within a wide range of biodiversity management themes including the management of populations of threatened and endangered species and habitats, and the restoration and maintenance of forested ecosystems. I have worked in biologically diverse, fragmented landscapes that require intensive management interventions necessary to maintain or improve the state of biodiversity.

Research Interest
My interests lie in understanding how temporal and spatial environmental heterogeneity impact species' distribution, abundance and reproductive success. Integrating my research with management-based questions is the focus of my work.
Why This Research Is Important

As a result of past practices, many of the dry coniferous forests of the western United States contain dense, even-aged stands with uncharacteristically high levels of litter and downed woody debris. These changes to the forest have received considerable attention as they elevate concerns regarding the outcomes of wildland fires. However, attempts to reduce biomass through fuel reduction treatments (i.e. thinning of trees) are often opposed by public interest groups whose objectives include maintaining habitat for species of concern such as the spotted owl, the northern goshawk and the Pacific fisher. Whether protection of these upper-trophic level species confers adequate conservation of forest diversity is debated.

Biodiversity is integral to ecosystem functioning and the services that are essential for human well-being. Although the importance of biodiversity is recognized and mandated on federal lands, it remains one of the key challenges of land stewardship. My research focuses on the use of coarse-filter approaches to help understand the landscape-level impacts of different forest management practices on bird and small mammal communities. Currently forest management typically occurs at the stand-level where the movement of individuals of many bird and small mammal species are typically confined. This allows for stronger inferences regarding the impact of different treatments on species' occurrences, densities and viabilities. Birds and small mammals are an important component of ecosystem integrity as they perform a diverse array of ecosystem services including seed dispersal, control of invertebate pests, pollination and nutrient cycling, and are the primary prey for upper trophic level species of special status.

Education
  • University of Nevada, Reno, Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, 2008
  • San Diego State University, M.S., Ecology, 2001
  • University of California, San Diego, B.S., Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, 1997
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Solving the Productivity and Impact Puzzle: Do Men Outperform Women? Or are Metrics Biased?

Year: 2016
The disproportionate attrition of women from science suggests current retention strategies are unsuccessful. But are female scientists’ careers stagnating or ending because of their inability to compete with their male colleagues? Or are the metrics commonly used to evaluate a researcher’s productiv...

Landscape Variability Compensates for Fuel Reduction Treatments

Year: 2016
While tree thinning had a negative effect on northern flying squirrel density within a thinning treatment unit, research results suggested that these effects were largely absorbed by the heterogeneous landscape, as animals shifted their distribution into unthinned areas without a decline in overall ...
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/about/people/angelawhite