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Richard T. Reynolds

Emeritus Scientist
Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
United States
Current Research
  1. Determine the distribution and density of breeding territories, reproduction, survival, mate and territory fidelity, recruitment, and emigration/immigration of northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona.
  2. Assess the relationship between goshawk demographic performance and habitat conditions on territories.
  3. Identify the compositional and sturctural habitat elements that confer quality to goshawk breeding habitats.
  4. Investigate post-fledgling movements and dispersal of juvenile goshawks.
  5. Determine the causes and consequences of dispersal of adult, breeding goshawks.
  6. Identify factors affecting goshawk prey populations and the extent to which prey affects goshawk demographics.
  7. Investigate the utility of genetic fingerprinting for identifying individual goshawks from in capture-recapture studies.
  8. Investigate the utility of using color, pattern, and shape of molted feathers for for identifying individual goshawks in mark-recapture studies.
  9. Determine the effects of high vs low intensity fire on the habitat on goshawk prey populations and on goshawk habitat use.
Past Research
An example of this demographically-based habitat research is our work on the northern goshawk, a 'sensitive' species and a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The focus of concern for this species was loss of habitat due to a forest management practices. The importance of our research on the hawk and its habitat was highlighted in a collaborative effort between animal ecologists, silviculturalists, and foresters to synthesize habitat-related knowledge of the plants and animals in this predator's food web to develop best-science management recommendations. This collaboration identified unique sets of desired habitat conditions that combined both a fine and coarse filter approach to multi-species conservation. The management recommendations were incorporated into forest plans of all National Forests in the Southwestern Region in 1996. Implementation improves visual quality, forage, wood products, and hydrologic function of forests; reduces fire hazards; and increases resilience to insects, disease, and climate change.
Research Interest
My research focuses on the relationship between species' demographies -- their reproduction, survival, mate and territory fidelity -- and their habitat in order to identify habitat elements that distinguish among high quality and low quality habitats. This research necessarily requires long-term capture-mark-recapture work so that the demographic performance of known individuals can be related to the compositions and structures of habitats they use throughout their lives. Products of the research enhance our understanding of the importance of habitat characteristics in species' viability and helps managers provide quality habitats through management activities.
Why This Research Is Important
  1. Initiated, conducted, and continue to collaborate on a 31-year capture-recapture investigation of the relationship between the habitat composition and structure and the demography of the flammulated owl in Colorado ponderosa pine forests.
  2. Initiated and conducted a 10-year study of the distribution, density, territory occupancy, and reproduction of Mexican spotted owls in Colorado.
  3. Initiated and conducted a 4-year study of birds , mammals, and herps in aspen and spruce-fir forests in Colorado and Wyoming.
  4. Collobratively initiated and conducted a northern goshawk habitat assessment for the entire Black Hills National Forest.
  • Oregon State University, B.S., Botony, Entomology, Zoology, History and Philosophy of Science, 1970
  • Oregon State University, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, 1975
  • Oregon State University, Ph.D., Animal Ecology, 1978
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Big Trees, Bark Beetles, Goshawks, and Timber

Year: 2019
Throughout the Rocky Mountains over the last century, large ponderosa pine trees provided lumber for growing cities and towns, along with fuel and timber for the mining and railroad industries. Most of these forests are now occupied by dense, young, and mid-aged forests highly susceptible to mortali...

Goshawks, bark beetles, and timber management: Can they coexist?

Year: 2017
Wildlife habitat and timber production are critical elements of the management of many national forests. The Black Hills National Forest in Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming has provided a thriving timber economy for over 100 years. The forest, a habitat for the northern goshawk, has bee...

Northern Goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau: A 20-year Investigation Into Factors Affecting Their Demography

Year: 2016
The northern goshawk is designated as a “sensitive species” in all Forest Service regions. This designation is a consequence of a contention that forest management practices can cause population declines. The hawk has been proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act and its response to for...

A Science-Based Framework for Restoring Resiliency to Frequent-Fire Forests

Year: 2015
Today’s Western ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests historically experienced frequent low-severity surface fires andhave undergone changes in their species composition and structure that increase their susceptibility to severe, large-scale wildfires and insect and disease episodes. A new sc...

New Framework Guides Land Managers in Restoring Forests to Historic Conditions

Year: 2014
Forest Service and university scientists and managers synthesized 100 years of published forestry science to help forest managers better understand the ecology of "frequent-fire" forests. This forest type, found throughout the western United States, historically experienced frequent, but low-severit...