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Geography: Washington

Social network mapping in fire-prone landscapes

Science Spotlights Posted on: November 14, 2019
To understand how local, state and federal investments are shaping North Central Washington's wildfire management system, a team of researchers with the Co-Management of Fire Risk Transmission Partnership (CoMFRT) conducted a survey of nearly 300 wildfire management professionals. The analyses identifies who is part of the wildfire management system, what their roles are, where they work, and how they are connected to each other. 

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. 

Wildfires know no boundaries

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 14, 2019
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station recently released a new General Technical Report, GTR-392, Cross-boundary Wildfire and Community Exposure: A Framework and Application in the Western US. The publication describes the development and application of a framework to assess cross-boundary wildfire exposure for the Western U.S. with the purpose of mapping potential fire transmission among public and private lands, and identifying areas where ignitions are most likely to expose communities to wildfire.  

Climate change likely to reshape vegetation across North America's protected areas

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 23, 2019
National parks, wilderness areas, and nature reserves were created to preserve a sample of pristine ecosystems, but even the most remote protected areas face serious threats from climate change. Managers would benefit from a better understanding how ecosystems within protected areas may respond to global warming.  

Predicting the effects of climate change on cattle production in western U.S. rangelands

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 13, 2018
Forage availability for grazing animals has always been vulnerable to the effects of variations of weather and climate from year–to–year, with some years and decades markedly drier than others.

The big picture on whitebark pine

FS News Posted on: August 31, 2018
Throughout the western United States, whitebark pine is experiencing high mortality, leading to concern about long-term viability of whitebark pine and other species that depend on it. Two new studies of whitebark pine in the western U.S. show that this species continues to die-off in alarming numbers and identifies locations where forest managers may be able to encourage growth of young whitebark pines.

Landscape-scale assessments of whitebark pine

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 23, 2018
Forest inventory data show that more than half of all standing whitebark pine trees in the U.S. are dead. Regeneration of whitebark pine is widespread, especially in lodgepole pine stands, which suggests that active management of whitebark pine should target mixed-species stands to take advantage of natural regeneration. 

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