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Matt C. Reeves

Matt Reeves

Research Ecologist

800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-5801
Contact Matt C. Reeves

Current Research

I am a Research Ecologist with the Human Dimensions Program at Rocky Mountain Research Station. I specialize in use of remote sensing and GIS to facilitate evaluation of contemporary issues facing US rangelands. I am keenly interested in facilitating management and administration of our Nations’ rangelands and am pursuing numerous efforts to partner with the National Forest System to improve the quality and usefulness of Forest Plan Revisions. An example of spatially explicit information describing rangeland trends can be found at: My research portfolio spans 4 themes:

  • Climate Change
  • Decision Support Tools
  • Inventory and Monitoring
  • Threat Assessment
  • I am the Forest Service liaison to the Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub, and I serve on the Sustainable Rangelands Roundtable ( while being a member of the Resources Planning Act (RPA) scientist cadre.

    Reeves, Matthew C.; Krebs, Michael; Leinwand, Ian; Theobald, David M.; Mitchell, John E. 2018. Rangelands on the Edge: Quantifying the modification, fragmentation, and future residential development of U.S. rangelands. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-382. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 31 p.

    Reeves, Matt C.; Manning, Mary E.; DiBenedetto, Jeff P.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R. 2018. Effects of climate change on rangeland vegetation in the Northern Rockies Region [Chapter 7]. In: Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Dante-Wood, S. Karen; Hoang, Linh; Ho, Joanne J.; Joyce, Linda A., eds. Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Northern Rocky Mountains [Part 2]. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-374. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 275-316.

    Reeves, Matthew Clark; Bagne, Karen E.; Tanaka, John. 2017. Potential climate change impacts on four biophysical indicators of cattle production from western US rangelands. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 70(5): 529-539.

    Research Interests

    I focus on developing novel rangeland analysis tools aimed at helping managers and regional stakeholders to make more cost effective and efficacious management decisions. The latest of these is the Rangeland Production Monitoring Service (RPMS) offering both retrospective analysis and in season projections of fuel and forage.

    These weekly fuel and forage projections can be viewed and downloaded here:

    Rangeland Fuel and Forage Projections (Please note that an ArcGIS login is required)

    Fire and fuel professionals now have unprecedented data to support weekly fire behavior projections while range managers can more effectively communicate forage expectations with stakeholders. This new service provides analysis across US rangelands for managers, producers and all stakeholders.  In addition, I am focused on climate change effects on rangelands and livestock; Development of simulation models for understanding effects of management and climate on vegetation performance and subsequent fuelbed properties; and use of remote sensing for wide area and inter-annual quantification of fuels on US rangelands and Inventory and monitoring of US rangelands.


    Reeves, Matt; Frid, Leonardo. 2016. The Rangeland Vegetation Simulator: A user-driven system for quantifying production, succession, disturbance and fuels in non-forest environments. In: Iwaasa, Alan; Lardner, H. A. (Bart); Schellenberg, Mike; Willms, Walter; Larson, Kathy, eds. Proceedings of the 10th International Rangelands Congress: The Future Management of Grazing and Wild Lands in a High-Tech World; 16-22 July, 2016; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The International Rangeland Congress. p. 1062-1063.

    Reeves, Matthew C.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Rollins, Matthew G.; Thompson, Thomas G. 2009. Spatial fuel data products of the LANDFIRE Project. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 18: 250-267.

    Reeves, Matthew C.; Bagget, L. Scott. 2014. A remote sensing protocol for identifying rangelands with degraded productive capacity. Ecological Indicators. 43: 172-182.

    Past Research

    My past research has been diverse ranging from evaluating big game habitat and creating vegetation classifications in southwestern ecosystems to mapping wildland fuels for the coterminous US. I have developed a significant number of geospatial models and quantitative prediction systems using remote sensing as a primary driver.

    Why This Research is Important

    Budgets for land management activities are shrinking while escalating wildfire costs make future prioritization of projects increasingly more important. There is a paucity of decision support tools and quantitative models aimed at improving and predicting management outcomes, or climatic change. The great uncertainty regarding probable management efficacy (especially when complicated by greater climatic uncertainty), large loss of resources from wildfires, and increasing emphasis on key species such as sage grouse obviate the need for more timely, accurate and useful spatially explicit information. My research is helping improve this situation and I have developed ecological simulation and mapping protocols for understanding climatic change and management effects on rangeland ecosystems.


  • Washington State University, B.S., Rangeland Management, 1995
  • Arizona State University, M.S., Environmental Resources, 1999
  • University of Montana, Ph.D., Remote Sensing and Ecological Modeling, 2004
  • Professional Experience

    Research Ecologist, US Forest Service
    2009 to present

    I am a Research Ecologist specializing in rangelands
    Instructor for Principles of Rangeland Management, University of Montana

    I taught Principles of Rangeland Management in Fall Semester of 2012. I led students on 5 field trips evaluating rangeland health, elk habitat, monitoring techniques and ecological sites.
    Fuels Team Leader for the LANDFIRE Project, US Forest Service
    2004 to 2009

    I was the lead spatial analyst and team leader for the LANDFIRE project
    Consultant for rangeland wildlife habitats, Self
    1995 to 1996

    I was a consultant who worked to providing habitat assessments for elk, mule deer and lekking birds in in rangelanlds.

    Professional Organizations

    • University of Montana, Adjunct Faculty ( 2012 to present )
      Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, Adjunct professor, sponsoring students, joint ventures and lecturer
    • Society for Range Management, Board Member ( 2002 to present )
      GIS and Remote Sensing and Inventory and Monitoring Committees, Event organizer and active member on GIS and Remote Sensing and Inventory and Monitoring Committees


    Certificate of Merit for scientific leadership of the rangeland component for the RPA Assessment, 2011
    Certificate of Merit for scientific leadership of the rangeland component for the USDA FS 2010 RPA Assessment Report from Tom Tidwell, chief of the US Forest Service
    Meritorious award for completion of LANDFIRE project awarded by Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, 2009
    Meritorious award for completion of LANDFIRE project awarded by Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory
    Meritorious award for completion of LANDFIRE project awarded by Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, 2009
    Meritorious award for completion of LANDFIRE project awarded by Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory
    Award for outstanding service awarded by US Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management., 2005
    Award for outstanding service awarded by US Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management.
    Outstanding Graduate Student, 1999
    I was voted the outstanding graduate student at Arizona State Univeristy in the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design
    Outstanding Range Management Senior, 1995
    I was voted the outstanding senior at Washington State Univeristy


    Ellsworth, L. M.; Newingham, B. A.; Shaff, S. E.; Williams, C. L.; Strand, E. K.; Reeves, Matt C.; Pyke, D. A.; Schupp, E. W.; Chambers, Jeanne C., 2022. Fuel reduction treatments reduce modeled fire intensity in the sagebrush steppe
    Reeves, Matt C.; Hanberry, Brice; Wilmer, Hailey; Kaplan, Nicole E.; Lauenroth, William K., 2021. An assessment of production trends on the Great Plains from 1984 to 2017
    Maher, Anna; Quintana Ashwell, Nicolas; Maczko, Kristie; Taylor, David; Tanaka, John; Reeves, Matt C., 2021. An economic valuation of federal and private grazing land ecosystem services supported by beef cattle ranching in the United States
    Jones, Matthew O.; Robinson, Nathaniel P.; Naugle, David E.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Reeves, Matt C.; Lankston, Robert W.; Allred, Brady W., 2021. Annual and 16-Day Rangeland Production Estimates for the Western United States
    Hudson, Tipton D.; Reeves, Matt C.; Hall, Sonia A.; Yorgey, Georgine G.; Neibergs, J. Shannon, 2021. Big landscapes meet big data: Informing grazing management in a variable and changing world
    Zimmer, Scott N.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Boettinger, Janis L.; Reeves, Matt C.; Thacker, Eric T., 2021. Considering spatiotemporal forage variability in rangeland inventory and monitoring
    Reeves, Matt C.; Butler, Jack L.; Schoeneberger, Michele; Kilgo, John C., 2021. Regional summaries: Great Plains Region
    Reeves, Matt C.; Ibáñez, Inés; Blumenthal, Dana; Chen, Gang; Guo, Qinfeng; Jarnevich, Catherine; Koch, Jennifer; Sapio, Frank; Schwartz, Michael K.; Meentemeyer, Ross K.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Boyte, Stephen, 2021. Tools and Technologies for Quantifying Spread and Impacts of Invasive Species
    Hao, Wei Min M.; Reeves, Matt C.; Baggett, Scott; Balkanski, Yves; Ciais, Philippe; Nordgren, Bryce L.; Petkov, Alexander; Corley, Rachel E.; Mouillot, Florent; Urbanski, Shawn P.; Yue, Chao, 2021. Wetter environment and increased grazing reduced the area burned in northern Eurasia from 2002 to 2016
    Reeves, Matt C.; Hanberry, Brice; Bruggink, Jeffrey L.; Krebs, Michael A.; Campbell, Steven B.; Baggett, Scott, 2020. A novel approach for estimating nonforest carbon stocks in support of forest plan revision
    Nelson, Mark D.; Riitters, Kurt H.; Coulston, John W.; Domke, Grant M.; Greenfield, Eric J.; Langner, Linda L.; Nowak, David J.; O'Dea, Claire B.; Oswalt, Sonja N.; Reeves, Matt C.; Wear, David N., 2020. Defining the United States land base: a technical document supporting the USDA Forest Service 2020 RPA assessment
    Reeves, Matt C.; Hanberry, Brice; Burden, Iric, 2020. Rapidly quantifying drought impacts to aid reseeding strategies
    Hanberry, Brice; Reeves, Matt C.; Brischke, Andrew; Hannemann, Mike; Hudson, Tipton; Mayberry, Richard; Ojima, Dennis; Prendeville, Holly R.; Rangwala, Imtiaz, 2019. Managing Effects of Drought in the Great Plains
    Patriarca, Chiara; Bako, Mamane; Branthomme, Anne; Frescino, Tracey; Haddad, Fidaa F.; Hamid, Abdel Hamied; Martucci, Antonio; Chour, Hivy Ortiz; Patterson, Paul L.; Picard, Nicolas; Reeves, Matt C.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Sacande, Moctar; Shono, Kenichi; Sparrow, Ben; Stolle, Fred; Winkler-Rathonyi, Norbert; Zhang, Daowei; Ziadat, Feras, 2019. Trees, forests and land use in drylands: The first global assessment
    Urbanski, Shawn P.; Reeves, Matt C.; Corley, Rachel E.; Silverstein, Robin P.; Hao, Wei Min M., 2018. Contiguous United States wildland fire emission estimates during 2003-2015
    Padgett, Wayne G.; Reeves, Matt C.; Kitchen, Stanley G.; Tart, David L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Howell, Cheri; Manning, Mary E.; Proctor, John G., 2018. Effects of climate change on nonforest vegetation [Chapter 7]
    Reeves, Matt C.; Manning, Mary E.; DiBenedetto, Jeff P.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R., 2018. Effects of climate change on rangeland vegetation in the Northern Rockies Region [Chapter 7]
    Reeves, Matt C.; Krebs, Michael; Leinwand, Ian; Theobald, David M.; Mitchell, John, 2018. Rangelands on the Edge: Quantifying the modification, fragmentation, and future residential development of U.S. rangelands
    Averyt, Kristen; Derner, Justin D.; Dilling, Lisa; Guerrero, Rafael; Joyce, Linda A.; McNeeley, Shannon; McNie, Elizabeth; Morisette, Jeffrey T.; Ojima, Dennis; O'Malley, Robin; Peck, Dannele; Ray, Andrea J.; Reeves, Matt C.; Travis, William, 2018. Regional climate response collaboratives: Multi-institutional support for climate resilience
    Smith, Lamar; Hicks, Joe; Lusk, Scott; Hemmovich, Mike; Green, Shane; McCord, Sarah; Pellant, Mike; Mitchell, John; Dyess, Judith; Sprinkle, Jim; Gearhart, Amanda; Karl, Sherm; Hannemann, Mike; Spaeth, Ken; Karl, Jason; Reeves, Matt C.; Pyke, Dave; Spaak, Jordan; Brischke, Andrew; Despain, Del; Phillippi, Matt; Weixelmann, Dave; Bass, Alan; Page, Jessie; Metz, Lori; Toledo, David; Kachergis, Emily, 2017. Does size matter? Animal units and animal unit months
    Reeves, Matt C.; Manning, Mary E.; DiBenedetto, Jeff P.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R., 2017. Effects of climate change on rangeland vegetation in the northern Rockies [Chapter 6]
    Derner, Justin; Briske, David; Reeves, Matt C.; Brown-Brandl, Tami; Meehan, Miranda; Blumenthal, Dana; Travis, William; Augustine, David; Wilmer, Hailey; Scasta, Derek; Hendrickson, John; Volesky, Jerry; Edwards, Laura; Peck, Dannele, 2017. Vulnerability of grazing and confined livestock in the Northern Great Plains to projected mid- and late-twenty-first century climate
    Reeves, Matt C.; Ford, Paulette L.; Frid, Leonardo; Augustine, David; Derner, Justin, 2016. A prototype application of state and transition simulation modeling in support of grassland management
    Finch, Deborah M.; Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Reeves, Matt C.; Ott, Jeffrey E.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Butler, Jack L.; Ott, Jacqueline P.; Pinto, Jeremiah R.; Ford, Paulette L.; Runyon, Justin B.; Rumble, Mark A.; Kitchen, Stanley G., 2016. Rangeland drought: Effects, restoration, and adaptation [Chap. 8]
    Reeves, Matt C.; Washington-Allen, Robert A.; Angerer, Jay; Hunt, E. Raymond Jr.; Kulawardhana, Ranjani Wasantha; Kumar, Lalit; Loboda, Tatiana; Loveland, Thomas; Metternicht, Graciela; Ramsey, R. Douglas., 2015. Global view of remote sensing of rangelands: Evolution, applications, future pathways [Chapter 10]
    Reeves, Matt C.; Moreno, Adam L.; Bagne, Karen; Running, Steven W., 2014. Estimating climate change effects on net primary production of rangelands in the United States
    Thomey, Michell L.; Ford, Paulette L.; Reeves, Matt C.; Finch, Deborah M.; Litvak, Marcy E.; Collins, Scott L., 2014. Review of climate change impacts on future carbon stores and management of warm deserts of the United States
    Sturges, Frank; Joyce, Linda A.; Brown, Thomas C.; Flather, Curtis H.; Mockrin, Miranda; Reeves, Matt C., 2013. Science You Can Use (SYCU) - Coming to a landscape near you: Natural resource changes in the Interior West
    Reeves, Derrick A.; Reeves, Matt C.; Abbott, Ann M.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Coleman, Mark D., 2012. A detrimental soil disturbance prediction model for ground-based timber harvesting
    Reeves, Matt C.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Rollins, Matthew G.; Thompson, Thomas G., 2009. Spatial fuel data products of the LANDFIRE Project
    Image of an arid rangeland landscape.
    The epic droughts of 2018 in the southwestern U.S. devastated landscapes and economies. The Rangeland Production Monitoring System was used to help the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Farm Service Agency identify the areas most affected by drought and seek emergency funding to facilitate reseeding efforts. 
    A map showing trends in the area burned across northern Eurasia. Kazakhstan shows a concentrated decline in area burned.
    Grassland fires dominated the declining trend of burned areas in northern Eurasia, accounting for 93 % of the decline of the total area burned. Grassland fires in Kazakhstan contributed 47 % of the total area burned and 84% of the decline. Wetter climate and increased grazing are the principle driving forces for the decline. 
    Photo of rangeland with scattered brown grasses in brown soil.
    The epic droughts of 2018 in the southwestern US devastated landscapes and economies alike. The Rangeland Production Monitoring System was used to help the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency identify the most affected areas and seek emergency funding to facilitate re-seeding efforts. 
    Cover of FAO report Trees, forests, and land use in drylands: the first global assessment - full report
    Drylands cover 41 percent of the earth’s surface and are home to nearly 2 billion people. Despite lacking water, they are vital, productive landscapes providing food, fiber, and habitat that people and animals depend on to survive. RMRS scientists contributed expertise on North American drylands to the groundbreaking Food and Agriculture Organization publication Trees, forests and land use in drylands: the first global assessment. This first-of-its-kind worldwide assessment uses digital data and new technology and compiles research from more than 200 experts in drylands and land use.
    Ponderosa pine regeneration is sensitive to moisture availability and have limited seed dispersal. Ponderosa forest recovery can be delayed following disturbance. Drier and hotter conditions may reduce ponderosa regeneration (Photo by R. Addington, TNC).
    Understanding the structure of understory vegetation in forests is critical for estimating carbon stocks, fuel loading, and assessing wildlife habit. Using nationally collected inventory data shows promise in providing better estimates and assessments in these areas over large geographical regions.
    The photo shows a land management personel in a grassland setting in the Chihuahuan Desert with a controlled burn in the foreground.
    Using the best available science and tools, we can project the effects of today’s management actions on tomorrow’s non-forest vegetation assemblage, carbon, and productivity while considering changing climates. 
    Cattle in the arid west. Photo by Keith Weller, USDA ARS from
    Forage availability for grazing animals has always been vulnerable to the effects of variations of weather and climate from year–to–year, with some years and decades markedly drier than others.
    Soil amendment treatments (wood chips, biochar, and biosolids) alone or in combinations applied to an abandoned mine site near Sumpter, OR.
    Drought can have severe impacts on rangeland ecosystems in North America. There is a critical need to understand how drought affects rangelands because drought severity and drought-associated disturbances are expected to increase with climatic change. Results from this study will be used to improve predictive forecasts of Great Plains wildfires, which are prone to uncertainies related to current climate projections and a paucity of information on grassland fire climate relationships.  
    Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists partnered with a company called Apex Resource Management Solutions (commonly known as “Apex”) to use a software-based ecological simulation tool called ST-Sim, which is short for state-and-transition simulation model. Using computer-aided modeling, land management teams can use ST-Sim to document or justify management actions in forthcoming forest plans and NEPA documentation. ST-Sim allows managers to ask landscape-wide “what-if” questions based on different management regimes and land treatments while estimating interactions with expected climate changes.
    The concepts of ecological resilience and resistance to invasive annual grasses have been used to develop an understanding of sagebrush ecosystem response to disturbances like wildfire and management actions to reduce fuels and restore native ecosystems. A multi-scale framework that uses these concepts to prioritize areas for conservation and restoration at landscape scales and to determine effective management strategies at local scales has been developed by Chambers and her colleagues. Regional SageSTEP (Sagebrush Treatment Evaluation Project) data coupled with west-wide AIM (Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring) data provide a unique opportunity to refine the predictors of resilience and resistance and extend the existing multi-scale framework effort.
    Rangeland managers and livestock producers need timely and consistent tools that can inform grazing strategies, risk management, and allotment management plans. On the ground monitoring is expensive and resources can be limited, making it difficult to do consistently. The new Rangeland Production Monitoring Service can help make monitoring processes more effective and easier to implement.
    Wildfire smoke can trigger severe pollution episodes with substantial impacts on public health.
    There is a growing need for cost-effective tools that enable researchers to efficiently monitor and evaluate rangeland systems. RMRS researchers are partnering with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to enhance existing monitoring and modeling strategies, which assess rangeland conditions. This project will expand the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) user base, develop remote monitors, and build collaborative relationships inside and outside of the National Forest System.
    In this study, we determined the locations of wildfire-derived emissions and their aggregate impacts on Salt Lake City, Utah, a major urban center downwind of the fires. The USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station’s new Wildland Fire Emission Inventory Version 2 model was used to determine the location and timing of wildfire emissions.