You are here

Geography: Montana

Floral scent guides bee-flower interactions and explains seasonal patterns in communities

Science Spotlights Posted on: October 21, 2019
In diverse communities, bees visit flowers of plants, forming complex webs of interactions. The structure of these webs can tell us about how communities function and guide their conservation and restoration, yet we know little about the cues that regulate these webs. We analyzed floral scent of 47 plant species and bee visitors across the growing season in a meadow community and found that floral scent is a key cue structuring bee-forb interactions. 

Looking belowground: Investigations into belowground plant organs in grasslands and around the world

Projects Posted on: October 15, 2019
Belowground plant structures support aboveground regeneration in ecosystems around the world.  More research is needed to document and understand the anatomy, physiology, demography and ecological role of belowground plant organs.  By working with a global network of scientists we aim to provide research, syntheses and protocols on belowground plant traits.

A public engagement protocol: Social science in support of planning efforts

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 10, 2019
A recently released ‘social vulnerability’ protocol provides a detailed manual for applying social science to support forest and river planning efforts (e.g., forest plan revision). Specifically, the protocol is designed to engage the public about the importance of (and tradeoffs among) ecosystem services, as well as those drivers of change influential to such benefits.

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.

‘Chem herding’ to improve biological control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in the Northern Rockies

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 08, 2019
Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) refers to the complex of exotic invasive shrubs and trees (four species and their hybrids) now considered the third most prevalent woody riparian taxonomic group in the western United States. Defoliation by large multivoltine populations of the Northern tamarisk beetle Diorhabda carinulata has successfully reduced extensive saltcedar infestations in the southwestern United States. Behavioral manipulation of insects with semiochemicals such as aggregation pheromones can be used to intensify herbivory, even in the Northern Rockies where beetle population densities are inherently low, to the extent that the target weed species is negatively affected at a population level.

Interior West Forest Inventory & Analysis: Montana

Pages Posted on: July 19, 2019
Inventory and monitoring efforts conducted by Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists present a systematic compilation of forest statistics of the state.

Pages