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Forest Disturbances

Projects

The ecological, economic and health and safety concerns surrounding wildland fires are driving the need to better understand climate-fire interactions.
The ecological, economic, and health and safety concerns surrounding wildland fires are driving the need to better understand climate-fire interactions.
Exploring linkages between live wildland fuels, ignition, combustion and potential fire behavior.
RMRS researchers Terrie Jain, Kate Dwire, and Travis Warziniack are partnering with managers on the Boise National Forest and scientists at the University of Idaho to develop, implement, and evaluate place-based adaptive management strategies with the goal of improving the resilience of Northern Rockies ponderosa pine stands to fire and other disturbances.
RMRS scientists and staff have started an intensive project with the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, along with other cooperators such as Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, to develop a comprehensive plan for fire management on the forest. This project will rely on the Cohesive Strategy framework and will bring in many cooperators.
A workshop was hosted by the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed for those interested in wildfires and post-fire ecology and impacts, discussing transmission of key research findings from work done in the High Park Fire on key topics, implications for post fire restoration management decision making and identification of barriers to rehab/restoration action & knowledge gaps. Researchers from Rocky Mountain Research Station, CSU, and other regional institutions presented results from their work since the High Park Fire.
Wildland fires in the arid west create a cause for concern for many inhabitants and an area of interest for researchers. Wildfires dramatically change watersheds, yielding floods and debris flows that endanger water supplies, human lives, and valuable fish habitats.
The Southern Rockies Rust Resistance Trial (SRRRT) was initiated in 2013 to verify the stability of genetic resistance to white pine blister rust identified during artificial screening tests for limber and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines conducted in collaboration with Dorena Genetic Resource Center (Cottage Grove, OR). Over 700 seedlings were outplanted in the fall 2013 and another 700 seedlings in spring 2014. White pine blister rust is common in the forests in and around the SRRRT site providing a natural source of inoculum to the seedlings. The seedlings will be periodically assessed for signs and symptoms of white pine blister rust over the next 10 years – disease symptoms were first noted in 2016.
Forest surveys alone cannot predict species vulnerability as they cannot determine if the remaining healthy trees are at risk for disease or if they have heritable genetic resistance to support future populations. This project takes range-wide common garden (198 families) and artificial inoculation with Cronartium ribicola (causal agent of white pine blister rust) in order to better undertand host population vulnerability and sustainability.
Since 1996, bark beetles and fires have affected 155 million forested acres across the West. Homogenous forest conditions resulting from the widespread outbreak could set the stage for similar events about 80 years from now. New management techniques are needed to create more resilient future forests. RMRS scientist explores the controlled use of native forest insects to alter forest structure and promote more resilient forest conditions.

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