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Geography: Rocky Mountain Region (R2)

Creating local fuel loading estimates using the Photoload Sampling Technique

Science Spotlights Posted on: November 17, 2020
The photoload technique provides a quick and accurate means of estimating wildland fuel loading. This report describes a protocol to create a set of photoload sequences in the field with minimal effort to increase the accuracy of the photoload technique in your local area.

Protecting Prairie Pollinators: Study recommends insect conservation in the Great Plains

FS News Posted on: October 30, 2020
***This press release was first issued by our partners at Institute for Applied Ecology.

Improved carbon flux measurements in cold, snow covered ecosystems

Science Spotlights Posted on: October 30, 2020
In cold ecosystems, the annual carbon balance can be dominated by winter respiration. However, the eddy-covariance technique, a common methodology to measure net ecosystem exchange of carbon, can be inaccurate in cold climates due to the effect a warm sensor has on its gas measurement. Often, this error can make an otherwise dormant ecosystem appear as a carbon sink. Recently, RMRS researchers investigated and revised a common correction for this phenomena.

Upcoming: Through the smoke: Spotted owls, wildfire, and forest restoration

Events Posted on: October 06, 2020
In this webinar, RMRS research ecologist Sam Cushman, wildlife biologist Joe Ganey, and research ecologist Gavin Jones will discuss their latest research on spotted owls and wildfire.

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

Modeling the impacts of habitat loss under climate change on the Mexican spotted owl

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 11, 2020
Habitat loss and fragmentation are the most pressing threats to biodiversity, but understanding the potential for future habitat loss under climate change and its impacts across broad landscapes is difficult. Habitat selection models and area burned models that account for complex climate-fire relationships can help predict the impacts on species like the Mexican spotted owl.

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.