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Geography: Idaho

Complementing insect aerial surveys with satellite imagery

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 06, 2019
Forest insects kill large numbers of trees in the western United States each year. The US Forest Service monitors and quantifies tree mortality from insect outbreaks using annual aerial detection surveys. The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is demonstrating how satellite imagery can be used to produce annual maps of tree mortality, as the Forest Service anticipates relying more on satellite imagery, a cheaper alternative to aerial detection surveys, to monitor forest health in the future.

Watershed Analysis using WEPP Technology for The Clear Creek Restoration Project

Documents and Media Posted on: September 06, 2019
The US Forest Service Clear Creek Restoration Project’s goal is to restore desired silvicultural distributions/diversity within even aged stands. Researchers are using FlamMap, the WEPP model (GeoWEPP) and GIS tools to determine sediment delivery for a variety of biomass removal scenarios. Analysis included user defined GIS and ArcToolbox tools. The findings show that the area left untreated will ultimately deliver much more sediment than the treated area due to increased risk of wildfire if left untreated. Document Type: Other Documents

Results of Erosion Analysis of the Clear Creek Road Network

Documents and Media Posted on: September 06, 2019
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is planning a major restoration project to improve forest health and decrease the risk of wildfire in the Clear Creek Watershed. Elliot and Miller (2017) provided a detailed analysis estimating likely erosion from the proposed treatment areas, but at that time, did not have the tools to satisfactorily estimate sediment from the road network. Earlier estimates of likely road sediment generation were made with the NezSed cumulative effects model, which was not able to consider erosion from individual road segments. When Dr. Cao joined the research team, we were able to develop the methodology described below to complete a road network erosion analysis. This report is an example of applying this new methodology and evaluating its utility to support watershed analysis. Document Type: Other Documents

Rare carnivore detections from environmental DNA in snow

Media Gallery Posted on: September 05, 2019
A new project showed that animal footprints in snow contain enough DNA for species identification, even when the snow was many months old. The study extracted DNA from snow samples collected within animal tracks as well as areas where the animal had been photographed months earlier. Newly developed genetic assays were applied and positively detected the DNA of each species, performing nearly flawlessly on samples previously considered too poor to provide usable DNA. This method could revolutionize winter surveys of rare species by greatly reducing or eliminating misidentifications and missed detections.

Rare carnivore detections from environmental DNA in snow

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 05, 2019
A new project showed that animal footprints in snow contain enough DNA for species identification, even when the snow was many months old. The study extracted DNA from snow samples collected within animal tracks as well as areas where the animal had been photographed months earlier. Newly developed genetic assays were applied and positively detected the DNA of each species, performing nearly flawlessly on samples previously considered too poor to provide usable DNA. This method could revolutionize winter surveys of rare species by greatly reducing or eliminating misidentifications and missed detections.

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. 

Big trees, bark beetles, goshawks, and timber

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 21, 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 being killed by bark beetles and burned by wildfires. These conditions have been exacerbated by fire suppression and urban encroachment. As a result, knowledge is needed to inform management actions directed at restoring and conserving ponderosa pine forests. 

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.

Forb common garden study to inform seed transfer guidance for restoration

Projects Posted on: July 31, 2019
Seed-grown plants from multiple populations of three focal forb species will planted in gardens across the Great Basin in order to capture important information that affects where seeds are sourced for restoring native plants at specific locations.

Interior West Forest Inventory & Analysis: Arizona

Pages Posted on: July 09, 2019
Inventory and monitoring efforts conducted by Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists present a systematic compilation of forest statistics of the state.

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