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Matt Hansen



860 North 1200 East
Logan, UT 84321
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Current Research

  • Novel semiochemicals for managing spruce beetles (ongoing).
  • The influence of mountain pine beetle outbreaks on nitrogen dynamics in lodgepole pine ecosystems in the central U.S. Rockies.
  • Prepupal diapause in mountain pine beetle (ongoing).

Research Interests

  • Effects of bark beetle outbreaks on ecosystem functioning
  • Temperature-driven processes affecting bark beetle life cycles
  • Bark beetle trapping strategies
  • Bark management including semichemical and silvicultural treatments

Why This Research is Important

Bark beetles are the most important disturbance agents of western conifer forests, with more area impaced annually than wildfires. All forest values (fiber production, watershed, recreation, etc.) are substantially affected by bark beetle disturbance. Additional research is needed to enable prediction of bark beetles outbreaks in space and time so that management strategies can be initiated early. Greater understanding of outbreak effects on ecological processes will enable enlightened management of beetles and the forest they infest: negative impacts can be mitigated and positive impacts encouraged or mimicked through vegetation treatments. Novel strategies are needed to increase efficacy of management strategies.


  • Utah State University, M.S., Forest Ecology, 2000
  • Utah State University, B.S., Forestry (cum laude), 1986
  • Professional Experience

    Entomologist, United States Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
    2000 to present

    Biological Technician, United States Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
    1995 to 1999

    Fire, Timber Sales, Regen Surveys, Forest Inventory, Administration, United States Forest Service, National Forest Systems, Region 1,2,3, and 4
    1989 to 1997

    Forestry Technician (Insects), Forest Health Protection, Ogden UT
    1990 to 1994


    Certificate of Merit, 2014
    United States Forest Service
    Certificate of Merit, 2005
    United States Forest Service
    Certificate of Merit, 1991
    United States Forest Service

    Featured Publications


    Hansen, Matt; Johnson, Morris; Bentz, Barbara J.; Vandygriff, James C.; Munson, A. Steven, 2019. Chapter 14: Impact of Bark Beetle Infestation on Fuel Loads and Fire Behavior in “Old-Stage” Southwestern Ponderosa Pine (Project INT-EM-F-12-02)
    Hansen, Matt; Munson, A. Steven; Blackford, Darren C.; Graves, Andrew D.; Coleman, Tom W.; Baggett, L. Scott, 2017. 3-Methylcyclohex-2-en-1-one for area and individual tree protection against spruce beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) attack in the southern Rocky Mountains
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Hood, Sharon M.; Hansen, Matt; Vandygriff, James C.; Mock, Karen E., 2016. Defense traits in the long-lived Great Basin bristlecone pine and resistance to the native herbivore mountain pine beetle
    Hansen, Matt; Munson, A. Steven; Blackford, Darren C.; Wakarchuk, David; Baggett, Scott, 2016. Lethal trap trees and semiochemical repellents as area host protection strategies for spruce beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) in Utah
    Gillette, Nancy E.; Hansen, Matt; Mehmel, Constance J.; Mori, Sylvia R.; Webster, Jeffrey N.; Erbilgin, Nadir; Wood, David L., 2012. Area-wide application of verbenone-releasing flakes reduces mortality of whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis caused by the mountain pine beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae
    Hansen, Matt; Bentz, Barbara J.; Powell, James A.; Gray, David R.; Vandygriff, James C., 2011. Prepupal diapause and instar IV developmental rates of the spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Logan, Jesse; MacMahon, Jim; Allen, Craig D.; Ayres, Matt; Berg, Ed; Carroll, Allan; Hansen, Matt; Hicke, Jeff; Joyce, Linda A.; Macfarlane, Wallace; Munson, Steve; Negron, Jose; Paine, Tim; Powell, Jim; Raffa, Ken; Regniere, Jacques; Reid, Mary; Romme, Bill; Seybold, Steven J.; Six, Diana; Tomback, Diana; Vandygriff, James C.; Veblen, Tom; White, Mike; Witcosky, Jeff; Wood, David, 2009. Bark beetle outbreaks in western North America: Causes and consequences
    Negron, Jose; Bentz, Barbara J.; Fettig, Christopher J.; Gillette, Nancy; Hansen, Matt; Hayes, Jane L.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Lundquist, John E.; Lynch, Ann M.; Progar, Robert A.; Seybold, Steven J., 2008. US Forest Service bark beetle research in the western United States: Looking toward the future
    Hansen, Matt; Vandygriff, James C.; Cain, Robert J.; Wakarchuk, David, 2006. Comparison of naturally and synthetically baited spruce beetle trapping systems in the central Rocky Mountains
    Hansen, Matt; Bentz, Barbara J.; Munson, A. Steven; Vandygriff, James C.; Turner, David L., 2006. Evaluation of funnel traps for estimating tree mortality and associated population phase of spruce beetle in Utah
    Semiochemicals applied to a spruce to prevent spruce beelte attacks
    The spruce beetle is the most significant mortality agent of spruce in western North America, and management options are limited. In cooperation with FHP partners, a novel combination of a beetle-produced pheromone (MCH) and compounds from a non-host (maple) tree (AKB) were shown to be repellent to spruce beetles. High-release rate MCH-AKB devices that are attached to live spruce can reduce spruce beetle attacks on individual trees and small groups of trees.
    Crossdating and digitizing an increment core using a microscope and sliding stage. Photo by Lawrence Lam.
    The spruce beetle is the most significant mortality agent of spruce in western North America. Management options are limited but an effective semiochemical repellent could be economically and environmentally advantageous, compared to insecticide applications, for protection single trees and small stands.
    Partially cut Engelmann spruce stand.
    Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists, partnered with Forest Service Forest Health Protection, initiated a project in Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) stands on national forests in Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. This project was initiated to address entomologists' uncertainty about the success of partial cutting as a method to reduce bark beetle-caused tree mortality. Researchers discovered how implementing partial cutting of forests over a geographic area could help mitigate the spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) outbreaks, which have been anecdotally linked to the changing climate throughout western North America.
    Spruce beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) is the major disturbance agent of North American spruce, but current methods to suppress beetle populations vary in scale efficacy, cost, and environmental impact. A high-dose, high release MCH dispenser was found to be an effective area treatment for protection against spruce beetle attacks. Lethal trap trees and semiochemical repellents could provide managers with new tools for protecting hosts trees from spruce beetle attacks.
    Great Basin bristlecone pine (GBBP) (Pinus longaeva) is a long-lived species found at high elevations in Utah, Nevada, and southeastern California (CA). 'Methuselah', a GBBP found in the White Mountains, CA, is the oldest known living non-clonal organism. Foxtail pine (FTP) (P.
    Mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is the most significant disturbance agent in pine forests of western North America. Silvicultural treatments that reduce the number of susceptible host trees and alter age class distribution and species composition are considered viable options for reducing stand susceptibility to mountain pine beetle-caused mortality. Short-term efficacy of thinning treatments to reduce bark beetle-caused tree mortality has been evaluated, but long-term efficacy has not.