Plant community and fuels changes through time following severe wildfires and how spatial patterns in forests and regeneration are altered by such disturbances and subsequent management actions. Currently using physics-based fire behavior models to explore effects of disturbances such as bark beetle outbreaks and management practices on fire spread.
I am interested in exploring interacting natural disturbances such as fires following bark beetles, or fires following fires. I particularly enjoy working in interdisciplinary research teams, even though it can be challenging!
Past research focused on northern Great Plains ecosystems and explored the role of natural processes such as fire in shaping ecosystems, and developing management options for introducing these processes into altered systems without severe impacts such as enhancing populations of exotic plant species. I also have extensive research experience with rare plants such as the federally listed western prairie fringed orchid.
Changing disturbance regimes, introduction of exotic species, and rarity of some native species in Western Forests present challenges for land managers. We need a better understanding of how to manage forests impacted by severe wildfires, whether beetle-infested areas present serious fire threats, and strategies for lessening the impact of exotic invasive species.