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Geography: California

FIRE-BIRD: A GIS tool for applying habitat suitability models to inform land management planning

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 04, 2019
To conserve and promote biological diversity, land managers must identify suitable habitat for species of conservation concern. Managers can then restrict potentially detrimental activities (e.g., salvage logging) to areas of lower habitat suitability, and target beneficial activities (e.g., restoration) where habitat suitability is higher. We developed FIRE-BIRD, an ArcGIS tool, to map habitat suitability for disturbance-associated woodpeckers of conservation concern to inform postfire management and restoration treatments in dry mixed-conifer forests. 

Wildfires know no boundaries

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 14, 2019
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station recently released a new General Technical Report, GTR-392, Cross-boundary Wildfire and Community Exposure: A Framework and Application in the Western US. The publication describes the development and application of a framework to assess cross-boundary wildfire exposure for the Western U.S. with the purpose of mapping potential fire transmission among public and private lands, and identifying areas where ignitions are most likely to expose communities to wildfire.  

Climate change likely to reshape vegetation across North America's protected areas

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 23, 2019
National parks, wilderness areas, and nature reserves were created to preserve a sample of pristine ecosystems, but even the most remote protected areas face serious threats from climate change. Managers would benefit from a better understanding how ecosystems within protected areas may respond to global warming.  

Doughnuts don’t make trees fatter

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 06, 2019
Large, old trees, often called legacy trees, serve a foundational role in old-growth forests. Restoration efforts to improve vigor of legacy trees and decrease risk to high-intensity wildland fire and drought-mediated insect mortality often include reductions in stand density. However, sometimes regulatory and social constraints limit stand-level thinning options by requiring maintenance of closed canopies.

Predicting the effects of climate change on cattle production in western U.S. rangelands

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 13, 2018
Forage availability for grazing animals has always been vulnerable to the effects of variations of weather and climate from year–to–year, with some years and decades markedly drier than others.

The big picture on whitebark pine

FS News Posted on: August 31, 2018
Throughout the western United States, whitebark pine is experiencing high mortality, leading to concern about long-term viability of whitebark pine and other species that depend on it. Two new studies of whitebark pine in the western U.S. show that this species continues to die-off in alarming numbers and identifies locations where forest managers may be able to encourage growth of young whitebark pines.

Landscape-scale assessments of whitebark pine

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 23, 2018
Forest inventory data show that more than half of all standing whitebark pine trees in the U.S. are dead. Regeneration of whitebark pine is widespread, especially in lodgepole pine stands, which suggests that active management of whitebark pine should target mixed-species stands to take advantage of natural regeneration. 

High soil temperature data archive

Projects Posted on: June 07, 2018
High Soil Temperature Data Archive - From Prescribed Fires and Wildfires across the Western US.

The eDNAtlas project: A national map of aquatic biodiversity

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 07, 2018
The National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation pioneered development of eDNA sampling of aquatic environments at their laboratory in Missoula, MT. The Center has partnered with dozens of National Forests, as well as other state, federal, tribal, and private natural resource organizations to assist in the collection and processing of eDNA samples. Thousands of eDNA samples are collected annually and constitute a rapidly growing biodiversity archive that provides precise information about native and non-native species distributions, temporal trends in those distributions, and the efficacy of species and habitat restoration and conservation efforts. eDNA sampling provides a low-cost & sensitive method for determining which species occur in water bodies. Rapid adoption of eDNA sampling by many natural resource agencies led to an exponential increase in data and the need for an open-access database. The website and open-access database were launched in June 2018 with approximately 6,000 samples and is updated semi-annually with newly processed samples.

Whitebark pine distribution and regeneration

Media Gallery Posted on: June 04, 2018
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an ecologically important species in high-altitude areas of the West due to the habitat and food source it provides for Clark’s nutcrackers, red squirrels, grizzly bears, and other animals. Whitebark pine stands have recently experienced high mortality due to wildfire, white pine blister rust, and a mountain pine beetle outbreak, leading to questions about the species’ long-term viability. This project seeks to quantify the current distribution and regeneration status of whitebark pine throughout its US range.

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