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Jose Iniguez

Research Ecologist

Address: 
2500 South Pine Knoll Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Phone: 
928-556-2159
Contact Jose Iniguez

Current Research

  1. Assessing the impacts of multiple fires on age and spatial tree patterns in the Gila National Forest.
  2. Assessing tree spatial patterns, patch size and other landscape attributes related to reference/historical conditions in an un-harvested experimental forest.
  3. Comparing pre and post wildfire forest conditions across burned landscapes in the sky islands of southeastern Arizona.

Research Interests

My research interests are in understanding how fire impacts forested ecosystems across temporal and spatial scales. Working at large spatial scales is facilitated by also expanding the temporal scale. I use dendrochronological techniques that allow me to re-construct fire history and age structure patterns both in stands and across landscapes. The next step is to apply the information we have learned from historical data to contemporary landscapes to restore both forest structure and natural fires.

Past Research

One aspect that is unique to the United States in terms of land management is the concept of public lands. That is, lands that are managed for the good of the people. Public lands are a critical part of American life; therefore it is the responsibility of land management agencies to sustain these lands for current and future generations. A critical part of managing for sustainability is understanding the historical processes (including disturbances) that our current ecosystems evolved with. Our job as scientists is to provide managers information, knowledge and advice that will allow them to make land management decisions that will result in healthy and sustainable forest.

Why This Research is Important

  1. Lead author on a scientific paper titled "Topography affected landscape fire history patterns in southern Arizona" which describes how differences in fire size at the landscape scale impacted fire intervals at the stand level. This work has contributed to our understanding of how fires can be influenced by landscape topography and has led to the development of fire landscape (firescapes) which mangers use when planning and applying fire treatments.
  2. Lead author on another scientific paper titled "Temporally and spatially mixed-fire regimes in the Rincon Peak Sky Island" which describes how fire regimes change with time as a result of stand replacing fires that fragment fuels across the landscape isolating certain forest patches. This work has broadened our understanding of landscape fire patterns and how they can be impacted by landscape fuel arrangements and climate change.
  3. Developed an identification key and classification system for different cover types in the diverse forest of the sky island region of southeastern Arizona.

Education

  • Northern Arizona University, B.S., Forestry, 1996
  • Northern Arizona University, M.S., Forestry, 2001
  • University of Arizona, Ph.D., Natural Resources, 2006
  • Featured Publications

    Publications

    Villarreal, Miguel L.; Haire, Sandra L.; Iniguez, Jose; Montano, Citlali Cortes; Poitras, Travis B., 2019. Distant neighbors: Recent wildfire patterns of the Madrean Sky Islands of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico
    Singleton, Megan P.; Thode, Andrea E.; Meadora, Andrew J. Sanchez; Iniguez, Jose, 2019. Increasing trends in high-severity fire in the southwestern USA from 1984 to 2015
    Iniguez, Jose; Fowler, James F.; Moser, W. Keith; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Baggett, Scott; Shin, Patrick, 2019. Tree and opening spatial patterns vary by tree density in two old-growth remnant ponderosa pine forests in Northern Arizona, USA
    Malone, Sparkle L.; Fornwalt, Paula J.; Battaglia, Mike A.; Chambers, Marin E.; Iniguez, Jose; Sieg, Carolyn H., 2018. Mixed-severity fire fosters heterogeneous spatial patterns of conifer regeneration in a dry conifer forest
    Owen, Suzanne M.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Meador, Andrew J. Sanchez.; Fule, Peter Z.; Iniguez, Jose; Baggett, Scott; Fornwalt, Paula J.; Battaglia, Mike A., 2017. Spatial patterns of ponderosa pine regeneration in high-severity burn patches
    Ziegler, Justin P.; Hoffman, Chad M.; Fornwalt, Paula J.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Battaglia, Mike A.; Chambers, Marin E.; Iniguez, Jose, 2017. Tree regeneration spatial patterns in ponderosa pine forests following stand-replacing fire: Influence of topography and neighbors
    Ganey, Joseph L.; Iniguez, Jose; Hedwall, Shaula; Block, William M.; Ward, James P. Jr.; Jonnes, Ryan S.; Rawlinson, Todd A.; Kyle, Sean C.; Apprill, Darrell L., 2016. Evaluating desired conditions for Mexican spotted owl nesting and roosting habitat
    Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Block, William M.; Ganey, Joseph L.; Iniguez, Jose, 2013. Preliminary assessment of species richness and avian community dynamics in the Madrean Sky Islands, Arizona
    Old-growth ponderosa pine forests in Long Valley and Fort Valley Experimental Forests provide a window into historical spatial patterns of trees and non-forested openings.
    Researchers are increasingly recognizing that ponderosa pine forests naturally occur in clumps of trees with isolated single trees in a matrix of non-forested openings. Turns out that this spatial pattern is important in sustaining ecological processes such as fire spread, tree growth and regeneration, and creates biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Yet, most past studies have examined spatial patterns on small plots, which underestimates the sizes of tree groups and openings.
    Old-growth ponderosa pine forests in Long Valley and Fort Valley Experimental Forests provide a window into historical spatial patterns of trees and non-forested openings.
    Researchers are increasingly recognizing that ponderosa pine forests naturally occur in clumps of trees with isolated single trees in a matrix of non-forested openings. It turns out that this spatial pattern is important in sustaining ecological processes such as fire spread, tree growth and regeneration, and creates biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Yet, most past studies have examined spatial patterns on small plots, which underestimates the sizes of tree groups and openings.  
    Figure 1. A post-fire ponderosa pine seedling in a high-severity burn patch of the 2000 Pumpkin Fire, Arizona.
    Over the past three decades, wildfires in southwestern United States ponderosa pine forests have increased in size and severity, leaving large patches of tree mortality. Ponderosa pine evolved under fire regimes dominated by low- to moderate-severity wildfires, and they are poorly adapted to regenerating in large patches of high-severity fire. There is concern about these high-severity burn patches because the lack of seed-producing trees can prevent or significantly delay ponderosa pine regeneration.
    High severity burned patch from the 2011 Horseshoe Two Fire in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona.
    This research evaluates the use of citizen science in a region with increased stress from ongoing drought and wildfires. Researchers show how it allows for inexpensive and statistically rigorous monitoring, and fosters greater local involvement in science and conservation. This information will be used to determine optimal protocols for a long-term monitoring plan. Inexpensive and statistically rigorous long-term monitoring fosters local involvement in science and conservation.
    View of a wildfire east side of Reef Rock on Mica Mountain in the Saguaro Wilderness.
    As managed wildfires become the primary tool for restoring forest in the southwestern U.S., much can be learned from the managers and the wilderness landscapes where this has been the norm since the early 1970s. This study summarizes the effects of fire managment practices on key resources, documents common challenges in implementing these practices, and provide lessons for how to address them.
    Wildfire has long been an important and complex disturbance agent in forests dominated by ponderosa pine in the western United States. However, many recent fires have burned with increased severity across large, contiguous areas, resulting in vast expanses with no surviving overstory trees. Researchers are looking at regeneration rates inponderosa pine forests after high-severity fires and examining the spatial patterns and environmental conditions in affected areas to help managers anticipate natural recovery and plan for post-fire management activities.
    It is widely known that ponderosa pine forests have a unique spatial structure. However, quantifying this pattern has been limited by small plots sizes, and little is known about how those spatial patterns changed with soil types. This study examined spatial arrangement of pre-settlement ponderosa pine on two remnant sites in northern Arizona with contrasting geology.
    Snags (standing dead trees) and logs are important components of forest landscapes. RMRS scientists established a series of fixed plots in 1997 for monitoring snag populations. This research has direct ramifications for 11 national forests throughout the Southwestern Region, as well as for our overall understanding of the ecology of coarse woody debris and effects of climate change on forest structure and composition.
    Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) scientists have been at the forefront of efforts to understand the ecology of the threatened Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) for more than 25 years. These scientists and their cooperators have produced most of the existing scientific information on this species. Today, RMRS scientists continue to be actively involved in developing new knowledge on this owl, synthesizing existing information, and working with managers to integrate habitat requirements for the owl and its important prey species into land management plans.
    Numerous factors influence the establishment and growth of tree seedlings after high-severity wildfires. Understanding spatial patterns and environmental conditions influencing ponderosa pine and aspen regeneration post-wildfire can help managers monitor natural recovery.
    The avifauna within the Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona includes species found nowhere else in the United States. Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists initiated a study in the 1990s on avian distribution and habitat associations within the Sky Islands. This project involves monitoring vegetation and bird populations following wildfires, applying climate change models to assess potential changes and explore strategies for managing resilient forests and avian populations, and engaging citizens in data collection and long-term avian monitoring.  

    National Strategic Program Areas: 
    Wildland Fire and Fuels; Wildlife and Fish
    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems