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Geography: Northern Region (R1)

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.

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.

In the pipeline: A new report on the effects of oil and gas development on the biggest national grassland in the United States

Pages Posted on: September 05, 2019
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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. 

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