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Mary M. Rowland

Mary M. Rowland
Research Wildlife Biologist
Ecological Process and Function
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, OR 97850-3368
United States
Current Research

My current work centers on several aspects of ungulate ecology, including the role of ungulates as disturbance agents and how they are in turn impacted by human disturbance, climate change, and land use change; developing resource selection models for ungulates; interactions of grazing by cattle, deer, and elk with a suite of responses (shrubs, native bees) in a restored riparian area supporting endangered salmonids; and factors driving hunter distributions and their impacts on prey energetics and distributions.

Past Research

Past research topics have included developing and validating habitat use models for elk, greater sage-grouse, wolverine, and other species of concern; elk response to fire and roads/traffic; greater sage-grouse as an umbrella species; and regional assessments of habitat threats, especially in the sagebrush ecosystem.

Research Interest
  • Interactions of domestic and wild ungulates with multiple resources in riparian systems
  • Wildlife habitat modeling and monitoring
  • Biodiversity and use of surrogate species in conservation
  • Impacts of climate change on ungulate distribution and performance
  • Impacts of human disturbance on wildlife and their habitats
Why This Research Is Important

Ungulates are among the most common disturbance agents on public lands of the western U.S.; moreover, elk and mule deer are of high social and economic value, and cattle grazing remains a key use of western rangelands. Better understanding of the key factors driving distributions of deer, elk, and cattle across multiple seasons can help inform land management decisions about issues such as forage improvements, grazing in riparian areas, and road access. For example, strategic road management can help re-distribute elk on national forests and private lands, increase viewing and hunting opportunities, and decrease damage to croplands. The role of cattle vs. deer and elk in affecting riparian restoration for endangered fish is little studied; new information from our studies can guide future riparian monitoring and restoration.

  • Colorado State University, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, 1981
  • Duke University, B.S., Zoology, 1977
Professional Experience
  • Research Wildlife Biologist,  Starkey Ungulate Ecology Team, PNW Research Station, U.S. Forest Service,  2012 - Current
Professional Organizations
  • Peer Reviewer,  The Wildlife Society,  1979 - Current
    Member since 1970s; national, section, and state levels. Serve as reviewer for TWS journals each year; have served as session chair at state-level annual TWS meetings and state officer of Wyoming Chapter.
  • Board Member,  The Wildlife Society, Biodiversity Working Grp,  2013 - 2017
    Served as treasurer and board member.
Awards & Recognition
  • David B. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, Oregon Chapter, The Wildlife Society, 2019
    For a lifetime career of service to the Wildlife Society and to wildlife research and management.
  • Science Findings Award, PNW Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, 2016
    Submission titled "Watching What Wildlife Want - and Need" which describes publication of a comprehensive guide for wildlife habitat monitoring and other technology transfer.
  • National award from Boone and Crockett Club and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 2012
    Award to the multi-agency Elk Modeling Team (of which I am a member) to recognize outstanding work in creating and validating new elk nutrition and habitat selection models for elk in western Oregon and Washington.
  • Outstanding Service Award, Oregon Chapter, The Wildlife Society,, 2012
    Award received by modeling team that developed and applied Westside elk habitat models for OR and WA, which are being used throughout the modeling region to benefit land management.
  • Extra Effort Award, Washington Office, R&D, U.S. Forest Service, 2011
    For outstanding performance in detail as National Wildlife Program Leader, Washington Office, Research and Development R&D
  • Civil Rights Action Group Research Grant for Underserved Populations, PNWRS, 2009
    First recipient of the PNW Civil Rights Action Group for Research with Underserved Communities Fund award, totaling $20,000. Created elk habitat models specifically tailored for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, through collaboration with
  • Sustainable Operations Award, 2009
    PNW Research Station, U.S. Forest Service ($500 + matching for local unit)
  • Science Findings Award, PNW Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, 2006
    Co-recipient of $10,000 award for research accomplishments related to regional assessments of habitat threats in sagebrush ecosystems;findings were featured in PNW Science Findings
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Quantifying the effects of deer and elk on riparian plantings installed to improve salmon habitat

Year: 2017
Researchers evaluated elk and mule deer impacts on deciduous woody riparian plantings along Meadow Creek, a steelhead- and Chinook salmon-bearing stream in the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range in Oregon. Findings are used to justify additional costs and designs for protecting planted shrubs fro...

National Technical Guide Provides a Foundation for Monitoring Wildlife Habitat on National Forests

Year: 2014
This technical guide offers comprehensive guidance for habitat monitoring on public lands in the United States, particularly national forests and grasslands developing new forest plans under the 2012 planning rule.