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Geography: Colorado

Looking Into the Past: How Reconstructing Historical Forest Conditions Can Help Future Restoration Efforts

Documents and Media Posted on: September 22, 2020
Scientists from the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, and Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research reconstructed historical forest conditions in Front Range forests that had adapted to survive frequent fire prior to 1860. Document Type: Other Documents

Improving identification of unusual bark beetles attacking lodgepole pine in the southern Rocky Mountains

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 02, 2020
Lodgepole pine growing above 9,000 feet have been under attack by a Dendroctonus insect other than the mountain pine beetle for several years. Trees are not dying as fast as expected. Identifying this beetle species required a new approach.

Reconstructing mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the Colorado Front Range

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 02, 2020
From the late 1990s through the mid-2010s there have been extensive outbreaks of mountain pine beetle across the west from the Southern Rockies to British Columbia. It is often thought that these outbreaks are “unprecedented.” An understanding of historical disturbances is particularly critical as we continue to develop strategies for forest management under climate change.

Fire refugia and forest resilience

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 02, 2020
Fire refugia are places within high-severity burns that remain unburned or burn with low severity. They can be important for maintaining and regenerating fire-prone forested systems. We used satellite-derived imagery of fires to investigate where and when fire refugia are most likely to form and persist on a landscape. We then collected field data to better understand how fire refugia promote forest recovery and ecosystem resilience. 

Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine is a confirmed host for mountain pine beetle

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 02, 2020
The mountain pine beetle is the most notable killer of pines in western North America. Bristlecone pines grow at high elevations and are among the longest-lived conifers globally.  Although the bristlecone species Great Basin bristlecone and foxtail pine appear to be less preferred by mountain pine beetle and may not be suitable for mountain pine beetle offspring success, their close relative Rocky Mountain bristlecone is now a confirmed and suitable host. 

Increasing use of prescribed fire: Barriers and opportunities

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 20, 2020
Prescribed fire is an important tool for increasing the resilience of fire-dependent ecosystems and for reducing overall wildfire risk, but it is not being applied at the necessary or desired levels. We investigated barriers and strategies for facilitating prescribed fire application on USFS and BLM lands across the western United States.

Canada lynx navigate spruce beetle-impacted forests

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 11, 2020
Canada lynx depend on boreal and subalpine forests that have been structured by natural disturbances for millennia.  The management conundrum is how to salvage beetle-killed trees, while also conserving this iconic species.  We instrumented Canada lynx with GPS collars to learn how they used beetle-impacted forests.  Our research informed how to balance timber salvage with species conservation.

Understanding community trust in wildfire management agencies

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 10, 2020
Trust is an essential element in building and maintaining successful partnerships with stakeholders and community members. Findings indicate that managers hoping to build, maintain, or restore trust with communities therefore may want to focus on active communication, and demonstrating competence and how actions are in the best interest of the community.

Watering the Forests for the Trees: Water Yield and Changes in Forest Cover

Documents and Media Posted on: August 07, 2020
Forest cover loss may decrease water yield, particularly following nonstand-replacing disturbance in semi-arid western forests. This contradicts the long-held expectation that water yield increases when tree cover is reduced. Document Type: Other Documents


Media Gallery Posted on: August 05, 2020
Snagfall photo documentation from Fraser Experimental Forest