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Christopher Witt

Christopher Witt
Ecologist
Inventory and Monitoring
322 East Front Street, Suite 401
Boise, ID 83702
United States
Phone
208-373-4370
Current Research
I am currently focused on developing tools that quantify habitat for forest vertebrates listed as threatened, endangered or of special concern by state and /or federal management agencies. I am also working on trend models that can show resource managers which structural characteristics a species' habitat is limiting or is changing in abundance over time.

Species currently focused on include the pinyon jay, Mexican spotted owl, and red squirrel. Ecosystems currently focued on include pinyon-juniper woodlands and their ecotones with sagebrush steppe, mixed-conifer stands, and lodgepole pine stands that have whitebark pine as a component.
Past Research
Effect of isolation on small mammals in a sage-steppe matrix, Quantification of nesting habitat for Lewis' woodpecker in Utah, Assessment of seasonal habitat for mule deer in pinyon-juniper woodlands containing sagebrush, Predicting occurrence of heartrot fungus in aspen and its implications to cavity-nesting birds, pinyon jay habitat in pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Research Interest
My interests include creating economically friendly modeling tools that resource managers can access at any time to assess the state of a species' habitat at large scales (landscape, state, ecoregions). I am also interested in tracking changes in forest structure over time as it relates vertebrate species habitat.
Why This Research Is Important
This research provides cost-effective habitat assessment and monitoring tools that are accessible to anyone. By using publically available Forest Inventory and Analysis data and leveraging it against state and local species occurrence information, I provide habitat estimation and trend analysis tools that can be used repeatedly over time with little cost or no financial burden to the user. This has fostered partnerships between federal, state, and local governments as well as academic institutions and non-government organizations that provide species information and input on model validity and utility.
Education
  • Idaho State University, B.S., Ecology,
  • Idaho State University, M.S., Population ecology,
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Pinyon Jays: Orchardists of the Great Basin’s Woodlands

Year: 2016
Expansion of pinyon-juniper woodlands into neighboring shrublands and grasslands can have detrimental impacts to species that prefer treeless areas, while infilling existing woodland areas changes the structure of woodland stands and can have negative effects on species that prefer lower stem densit...
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/about/people/chriswitt