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Geography: Oregon

Discovering Douglas-fir woodlands in the Umatilla National Forest

Science Spotlights Posted on: March 24, 2021
We documented Douglas-fir open woodlands in the Umatilla National Forest in historical surveys conducted in the late 19th century. Douglas-fir open woodland is an unusual ecosystem type that has not been reconstructed in previous large-scale studies.

Is Mastication Right for Your Site? Science-Based Decision Trees for Forest Managers

Documents and Media Posted on: November 24, 2020
This Science You Can Use article describes the potential benefits of mastication as a forest management tool, presented in the form of a set of decision trees that can guide land managers in choosing the right treatment option for a particular site and management objective. Document Type: Other Documents

Where’s the Biomass? A New Approach for Quantifying Biomass and Carbon in the Western United States

Documents and Media Posted on: October 13, 2020
A brand-new Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) developed by RMRS researchers promises to be a valuable resource to support the U.S. Forest Service’s Shared Stewardship Initiative’s goals and policy makers calculating carbon budgets. Document Type: Other Documents

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. 

Headed uphill? Aridity limits lower treelines in much of the western U.S.

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 25, 2020
Many forests in dry mountain regions have a lower elevational treeline that constitutes the dry edge of the forest belt.  Lower treelines currently at their climate limit are expected to be more sensitive to changing climate. Lower treelines constrained by non-climatic factors are less likely to respond directly to climate change but may be sensitive to other global change agents. Understanding the controls on the position of lower treeline can help managers anticipate forest shifts in response to climate change and prioritize vegetation treatments.

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.

Guns, bombs, and fire: How exploding targets can cause wildfires

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 20, 2020
Exploding targets composed of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder are sold for recreational target shooting and sometimes ignite nearby vegetation. This study involved a series of tests that attempt to identify some of the principal factors affecting ignitions that might result after intended use of exploding target products.

Habitat suitability models for white-headed woodpecker in recently burned forest

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 11, 2020
Salvage logging in burned forests can negatively affect habitat for white-headed woodpeckers (Dryobates albolarvatus), a species of conservation concern. To quantify and map suitable woodpecker habitat after wildfires, we developed habitat suitability index (HSI) models to inform forest management activities.

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

New forest landscape model predicts how management policies affect future wildfire impacts

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 21, 2020
We integrated the widely used Forest Vegetation Simulator with FSim, a large wildfire simulator, to study how management policies affect future wildfire regimes. The model leverages decades of research and development on the respective forest growth and wildfire simulation models, and their integration creates a strategic forest landscape model that can be used to examine forest fire and management policy issues on National Forests in the western United States.