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Jonathan G. Dudley


322 East Front Street, Suite 401
Boise, ID 83702
Contact Jonathan G. Dudley

Current Research

  1. Effects of wildfire and prescribed fire on populations and habitats of birds in ponderosa pine forests of the Interior West.
  2. Foraging habitat ecology of black-backed woodpeckers in burned forests of southwestern Idaho.
  3. Effects of bark beetle colonization and management treatments on populations and habitats of birds in ponderosa pine forests of central Montana.
  4. Development of monitoring protocols for management indicator and sensitive species of woodpeckers.
  5. Validation of models used to predict cavity nest occurrence of white-headed and black-backed woodpeckers.
  6. Influence of postfire salvage logging on nest survival of black-backed woodpeckers in south-central Oregon.

Research Interests

Functioning in a Science Support position, my research interests largely reflect those of the Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems Program and my supervisor - Vicki Saab. As such, we launched into studying fire and avian ecology in 1994. Since that time, we have contributed to understanding long-term effects of management activities on populations and habitats of birds, with an emphasis on cavity-nesting species. Today, our interests still focus on songbirds and cavity nesters in general, in areas such as modelling breeding habitats and nest survival, but also on individual species that present unique challenges to such land management activities as fuels reduction, beetle suppression, and pine forest restoration, and on predictions of population responses under changing climate scenarios.

Past Research

Our research helps support conservation and persistence of bird populations and their habitats under various disturbance regimes and spatial scales. Our outputs tend to be recommendations or tools designed to facilitate land management decisions and build on current scientific knowledge.

Why This Research is Important

  1. Calculated the home range size of black-backed woodpeckers in burned forests of southwestern Idaho.
  2. Estimated the detection probabilities of hairy and black-backed woodpecker nests in south-central Oregon.
  3. Analyzed longevity of snags in relation to wildfire and postfire salvage.
  4. Determined factors that influence occupancy of nest cavities in recently burned forests.
  5. Developed a field protocol to survey and monitor cavity-nesting birds.
  6. Studied the responses of cavity-nesting birds to wildfire and salvage logging in mixed conifer forests of southwestern Idaho.
  7. Evaluated the response of depleted sagebrush steppe riparian system to grazing control and woody plantings.


  • Washington State University, B.S., Wildlife Biology, 1988
  • Boise State University, M.S., Biology, 2005
  • Featured Publications


    Cross, Todd B.; Latif, Quresh; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Saab, Victoria A., 2021. Lewis’s woodpecker nesting habitat suitability: Predictive models for application within burned forests
    Latif, Quresh; Saab, Victoria A.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Markus, Amy; Mellen-McLean, Kim, 2020. Development and evaluation of habitat suitability models for nesting white-headed woodpecker (Dryobates albolarvatus) in burned forest
    Latif, Quresh; Saab, Victoria A.; Haas, Jessica R.; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2019. FIRE-BIRD: A GIS-based toolset for applying habitat suitability models to inform land management planning
    Saab, Victoria A.; Latif, Quresh; Dresser, Matthew A.; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2019. Woodpecker nest survival, density, and a pine beetle outbreak
    Latif, Quresh; Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Saab, Victoria A.; Block, William M.; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2016. Avian relationships with wildfire at two dry forest locations with different historical fire regimes
    Latif, Quresh; Saab, Victoria A.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2016. Transferability of habitat suitability models for nesting woodpeckers associated with wildfire
    Latif, Quresh; Saab, Victoria A.; Mellen-Mclean, Kim; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2015. Evaluating habitat suitability models for nesting white-headed woodpeckers in unburned forest
    Latif, Quresh; Saab, Victoria A.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P., 2013. Ensemble modeling to predict habitat suitability for a large-scale disturbance specialist
    Dudley, Jonathan G.; Saab, Victoria A.; Hollenbeck, Jeffrey P., 2012. Foraging-habitat selection of Black-backed Woodpeckers in forest burns of southwestern Idaho
    Saab, Victoria A.; Russell, Robin E.; Rotella, Jay; Dudley, Jonathan G., 2011. Modeling nest survival of cavity-nesting birds in relation to postfire salvage logging
    Russell, Robin E.; Saab, Victoria A.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Rotella, Jay J., 2006. Snag longevity in relation to wildfire and postfire salvage logging
    Saab, Victoria A.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Thompson, William L., 2004. Factors influencing occupancy of nest cavities in recently burned forests
    Dudley, Jonathan G.; Saab, Victoria A., 2003. A field protocol to monitor cavity-nesting birds
    Saab, Victoria A.; Brannon, Ree; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Donohoo, Larry; Vanderzanden, Dave; Johnson, Vicky; Lachowski, Henry, 2002. Selection of fire-created snags at two spatial scales by cavity-nesting birds
    Clary, Warren P.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Saab, Victoria A.; Kinney, John W.; Smithman, Lynda C., 1996. Response of a depleted sagebrush steppe riparian system to grazing control and woody plantings
    Photograph from on top of a hill looking down on a landscape of dead and dying trees. Green vegetation in the foreground, blue skies with big white clouds in the background.
    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. 
    BBN_emblem.jpg – Birds and Burns Network emblem
    Researchers studied avian relationships with wildfire to evaluate forest fire and fuels management strategies. Specifically, they document regional differences associated with historical fire regime with implications for broadly implemented strategies aimed at reducing severe wildfire risk. The results suggest that avian-fire relationships differ regionally, and therefore the best management practices for conserving or restoring avian diversity likely differ with historical fire regime.
    Photo: LEWIS WOOD BERRIESem.jpg; caption – Lewis’s Woodpecker most frequently nests in relatively open, recently burned forests with large diameter snags.
    Increases in forest fires are expected with future changes in climate, allowing more opportunities for post-fire salvage logging. Forest managers are challenged with implementing post-fire management policies while concurrently meeting the requirements of existing laws and planning documents to maintain habitat for wildlife species associated with snags. Design criteria for post-fire salvage logging is needed to concurrently manage for economic benefits and wildlife habitat.
    Habitat suitability models provide critical information needed for forest management plans to accommodate biodiversity conservation. We are developing GIS-based application tools for forest managers that requires minimal technical expertise to create habitat maps.
    We are integrating multiple datasets, statistical modeling tools, and simulation approaches to quantify habitat and predict population responses by woodpecker and other wildlife species of conservation concern to natural disturbance (wildfire, bark beetle outbreaks) and forest management activities to inform adaptive management of dry conifer forests.
    Innovative quantitative approaches have been developed for evaluating wildfire and prescribed fire effects on wildlife communities in several western North American national forests.

    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems