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Beth Hahn

Beth Hahn

Wildlife Biologist

790 E Beckwith Ave
Missoula, MT 59801
Contact Beth Hahn

Current Research

My primary project focuses on ecological interventions in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS): investigating the decision-making related to past and ongoing actions; understanding the breadth of actions implemented across the NWPS; developing an evaluation framework for federal wilderness managers to use when considering proposals; and, exploring how climate change will influence restoration proposals and stewardship decisions. In addition, I'm contributing to an effort to synthesize the issues associated with wildlife science and management within wilderness. Third, I continue to provide analytic support and technical assistance to inform natural resource management programming by US Government agencies working in Africa.

Research Interests

My research interests are generally focused around the ecological issues related to wilderness stewardship at multiple spatial scales, with an emphasis on ecological restoration, wildlife, climate change, and disturbance ecology. Additional areas of interest include adaptive management and monitoring. I am interested in these same topics in an international context.

Why This Research is Important

Climate change already affects many natural and cultural resources in wilderness, and these impacts are accelerating in ways that are not fully understood. While our scientific knowledge of the interrelationship between natural disturbances, human-caused threats and wilderness resources has dramatically expanded over the last 50 years, we recognize that our understanding of both system complexity and management responses is incomplete. As a consequence of these dynamic and complex changes, wilderness managers must rely on science to guide decisions in the face of novel ecosystems, threats and risks to the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) both now and in the future. Climate changes impact wilderness lands by altering temperature, precipitation, and species composition. These changes will accelerate into the future, making management of these lands more complex and protecting wilderness character more difficult.


  • University of Michigan, Ph.D., Ecology, 2007
  • Boston University, B.A., Geography, 1998
  • Awards

    Regional Forester's Honor Award for Stewardship of Northern Region National Forests and Grasslands, 2012
    Presidential Management Fellowship, 2007-2009, 2007


    Cooke, Brian; Hahn, Beth; Landres, Peter B., 2018. Keeping it wild: Asking the right questions to guide wilderness management
    Hahn, Beth; Saab, Victoria A.; Bentz, Barbara J.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Keane II, Robert E., 2014. Ecological consequences of the MPB epidemic for habitats and populations of wildlife [Chapter 5]
    Wilderness managers in North Cascades National Park opted for chemical treatments to remove invasive fish species (Photo by National Park Service staff).
    Altered disturbance regimes and changing ecosystem dynamics in wilderness areas have increased the importance of having an evaluation framework to support transparent decision-making for ecological restoration actions. A recently created wilderness evaluation framework questionnaire allows for improved communication between land management agencies and wilderness stakeholders.
    As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the combination of rising population, land use and climate change with other landscape stressors is driving ecological restoration to be one of the single most important, challenging, and potentially litigious wilderness stewardship issues because decisions need to incorporate diverse legal, scientific and ethical considerations.

    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute