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Geography: Southwestern Region (R3)

Maggie Hardy named Program Manager for Forest and Woodland Ecosystems, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

FS News Posted on: July 07, 2022
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., July 8, 2022 — The USDA Forest Service has selected Margaret “Maggie” Hardy, PhD, to be the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Research Program Manager. She began her position in June 2022 and is stationed in Flagstaff, Ariz. 

Using wildfire to restore resiliency to dry pine ecosystems

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 27, 2022
Managing wildfires for resource objectives diminished the likelihood of extreme fire events over time by making wildfire activity more predictable. Adding resource objective wildfire to the current rate of forest restoration expanded the area treated fivefold, and restoration objectives were achieved in 25 years when the rate of forest restoration was increased five times the current pace.

Variable streamflow response to forest disturbance in the western United States

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 14, 2022
Forest disturbance is typically expected to lead to increased runoff, and therefore more water available for aquatic ecosystems and people. We examined streamflow and forest change in 159 watersheds in the western U.S. to test this expectation. Although some disturbed watersheds produced more runoff, very dry watersheds not only produced less runoff following disturbance but also were more likely to experience disturbance in the first place.

New RMRS product improves national response to drought

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 23, 2022
The epic droughts of 2018 in the southwestern U.S. devastated landscapes and economies. The Rangeland Production Monitoring System was used to help the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Farm Service Agency identify the areas most affected by drought and seek emergency funding to facilitate reseeding efforts. 

The rundown on native western forbs

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 06, 2022
Over the last 20 years, researchers and practitioners have greatly increased our knowledge of native western forbs, their biology, ecology, and use in restoration. Now there is an online book that synthesizes this research and practical experience

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Why fires are climbing higher than ever before due to increased western aridity

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 28, 2022
Fires are burning higher and broader. Increases in burned area and altogether larger fire occurrences have been noted throughout the past half-century within western regions of the United States. The key word in all of this: higher. Recent collaborative research by Rocky Mountain Research Station, McGill University, University of California, and Boise State University focuses on the elevational distribution amongst forest fires in mountainous areas of the western United States—showing unique and unprecedented burned forest rates in areas above 2,500 m (8,200 ft) from 1984 to 2017.​​

Science Supporting the Wildfire Crisis Strategy

Pages Posted on: April 22, 2022
The Woolsey Fire seen from Topanga, California.</body></html>

Examining extreme single-day fire spread events

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 11, 2022
Wildfire activity in recent years is notable not only for an expansion of total area burned but also for large, single-day fire spread events that pose challenges to ecological systems and human communities. In this study, we evaluated the relationships between extreme single-day fire spread events, annual area burned, and fire season climate, while also predicting changes under future warming. 

SRRT - Southern Rockies Reforestation Tool

Tools Posted on: March 31, 2022
The Southern Rockies Reforestation Tool (SRRT) identifies climatically and topographically suitable sites to plant ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir seedlings after wildfire in the Southern Rocky Mountains, USA.

New insights into cross-boundary wildfires

Science Spotlights Posted on: March 25, 2022
Wildfires do not respect ownership or management boundaries, and those that move across them are called “cross-boundary” fires. This study provides evidence that challenges the common narrative that most destructive fires spread from USFS-managed wildlands to communities. Rather, nearly three-quarters of cross-boundary ignitions originated on private lands and were human-caused. Overall area burned in cross-boundary fires has increased over the last three decades.