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Geography: Black Hills Experimental Forest

To masticate or not: Useful tips for treating vegetation

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 21, 2019
Recently, several large fires have burned through masticated sites – including in Colorado (Brewer et al. 2013), Washington, and New Mexico. Burning under extreme weather conditions with strong winds, these fires have challenged the benefits of using mastication, even though mastication can provide many positive environmental effects, such as soil moisture retention and cool, moist environments for soil microbes. However, informing managers when, where, and how mastication is applied is based on antidotal evidence. To address, this issue we synthesized information to provide managers with a current state of knowledge on mastication.

Warming and Warnings: Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability in the Rocky Mountain Region

Documents and Media Posted on: July 26, 2018
This special Science You Can Use Bulletin is a companion to the recently published general technical report addressing climate change vulnerability in the Rocky Mountain Region. Document Type: Other Documents

Recreating in color: Promoting ethnic diversity on public lands

Documents and Media Posted on: May 30, 2018
Recent studies of the Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) data show a wide disparity in racial and ethnic use of national forests. Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado, are studying NVUM numbers systematically and hope that their research will help National Forest System staff to encourage different racial and ethnic groups to connect with public natural lands. Document Type: Other Documents

Seeing red: New tools for mapping and understanding fire severity

Pages Posted on: May 14, 2018
Large, severe fires are ecologically and socially important because they have lasting effects on vegetation and soils, can potentially threaten people and property, and can be costly to manage. The goals of the Fire Severity Mapping Project(FIRESEV), which covers lands in the continental western United States, are to understand where and why fires burn severely, and to give fire managers, fire ecologists, and natural resource managers tools to assess severity before, during, and after a wildfire. FIRESEV has produced a suite of tools for a wide range of fire management applications, including real-time forecasts and assessments in wildfire situations, post-wildfire rehabilitation efforts, and long-term planning.

National forest climate change maps: your guide to the future

Projects Posted on: April 17, 2017
The National Forest Climate Change Maps project was developed to meet the need of National Forest managers for information on projected climate changes at a scale relevant to decision making processes, including Forest Plans.  The maps use state-of-the-art science and are available for every National Forest in the contiguous United States with relevant data coverage. Currently, the map sets include variables related to precipitation, air temperature, snow (including April 1 snow-water equivalent (SWE) and snow residence time), and stream flow.

National flow gage gap analysis

Projects Posted on: March 16, 2017
Flow gages* record discharge in streams and rivers across the U.S. but the extent and adequacy of this monitoring network relative to USFS lands has not been documented. To address that deficiency, the medium resolution National Hydrography Layer was used with gage location information from the National Water Information System to describe the monitoring network and how it has changed through time.

Tree regeneration following severe wildfire in southwestern and southern Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine forests

Projects Posted on: August 24, 2016
Wildfire has long been an important and complex disturbance agent in forests dominated by ponderosa pine in the western United States. However, many recent fires have burned with increased severity across large, contiguous areas, resulting in vast expanses with no surviving overstory trees. Researchers are looking at regeneration rates inponderosa pine forests after high-severity fires and examining the spatial patterns and environmental conditions in affected areas to help managers anticipate natural recovery and plan for post-fire management activities.

Surface fuel characteristics, temporal dynamics, and fire behavior of masticated mixed-conifer fuelbeds in the western U.S.

Projects Posted on: August 18, 2016
For the past three years, scientists from the RMRS Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula and the Forestry Sciences Lab in Moscow have been researching mastication as a fuel treatment in the Rocky Mountains. Specifically, they have been interested in how the materials age when they are left on the ground to decompose and how that aging affects their flammability.

Post-fire conifer regeneration in severely burned southern Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine forests

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 18, 2016
Wildfire is an important disturbance in ponderosa pine forests of the southern Rocky Mountains, but the past two decades have witnessed fires of increased severity. The severely burned portions of these fires are generating concern about forest resilience, as there is uncertainty about ponderosa pine’s ability to regenerate in areas where no surviving trees remain.

The 115-year bark beetle saga in the Black Hills

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 17, 2016
Forest restoration, resilience, and wildfire are major issues of contemporary forest management. Integral to these issues is the destruction, understanding, and management of mountain pine beetles. This is the story of 115 years of mountain pine beetles, associated organisms and the people that study them in the Black Hills. It reads much like a film-noir. This research informs forest policy and management throughout western North America.  

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