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Robert E. Brown


1221 South Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843
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Current Research

I help develop and test research equipment and practices that aid scientists in obtaining their research goals. I also help locate and monitor field sites, supervise field crews, and manage collected erosion data from disturbed forest areas. I support P.R. Robichaud in achieving his broader research goals through operations, data analysis, and technology transfer.

Research Interests

Mitigation techniques of erosion from timber-harvested and burned areas in a forest environment; Rill and interrill erodibility and ground cover parameters; Hydrophobic soil conditions; Effects of prescribed fire and wildfire on erosion; Monitoring methods and mitigation techniques.

Past Research

Erosion is a natural process; however, past management activities have caused degradation of water quality in numerous watersheds throughout various landscapes. Therefore, we develop tools and information to help managers make better decisions based on today's and future climates for improved management of our natural resources as well as impacts on life and property. Our tools and results are used by post-fire assessment teams, land management agencies, private interests, tribal and state governments.

Why This Research is Important

We learned the proper moisture content needed for prescribed fires to prevent increased or accelerated erosion and developed a tool to measure that moisture content for instantaneous readings in the field; We are able to predict post-fire erosion rates and effectiveness of selected mitigation treatments.


  • Oklahoma State University, B.S., Forestry, 1988
  • University of Georgia, M.S., Forest Hydrology, 1991
  • Featured Publications


    Pierson, Derek; Robichaud, Pete R.; Rhoades, Charles C.; Brown, Robert E., 2019. Soil carbon and nitrogen eroded after severe wildfire and erosion mitigation treatments
    Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; MacDonald, Lee H.; Coats, Robert N.; Robichaud, Pete R.; Brown, Robert E., 2015. Effects of post-fire salvage logging and a skid trail treatment on ground cover, soils, and sediment production in the interior western United States
    Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Robichaud, Pete R.; Brown, Robert E.; Tirocke, Joanne M., 2015. Water repellency of two forest soils after biochar addition
    Robichaud, Pete R.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Brown, Robert E., 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation; Part I: Effectiveness at reducing hillslope erosion rates
    Robichaud, Pete R.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Brown, Robert E.; Wohlgemuth, Peter M., 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation; Part II: Effectiveness in reducing runoff and sediment yields from small catchments
    Robichaud, Pete R.; Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Brown, Robert E., 2010. Rill erosion in natural and disturbed forests: 1. Measurements
    Robichaud, Pete R.; Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Brown, Robert E.; Wohlgemuth, P. M.; Beyers, J. L., 2008. Evaluating the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers as a post-fire runoff and erosion mitigation treatment in the western United States
    Robichaud, Pete R.; Pierson, Frederick B.; Brown, Robert E.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W., 2008. Measuring effectiveness of three postfire hillslope erosion barrier treatments, western Montana, USA
    Figure 2. Sampling the mineral soil.
    Many U.S. forests contain soils with high rock content, and quantities of stored carbon and nitrogen. There is a need to calculate changes in carbon and nutrient pools in soils, but current sampling methods are not completely reliable in rocky soils. Managers and climate change researchers are using estimates of carbon pools to indicate soil productivity, alteration of biological activity, impacts from fire, or carbon storage potential. 

    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Air, Water and Aquatic Environments