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Science Bulletins & Newsletters

For landowners and agencies seeking to implement grassland restoration projects and hazardous fuels reduction projects, biochar can be a key piece of the restoration-economics puzzle. Biochar plays a major role in moving excess organic matter from overstocked forest stands to the degraded range, forest, mine, and agricultural soils that need it.
Wildfire influences wildlife habitat in ways that benefit some species while degrading habitat for others. Recent wildfire favors several woodpecker species by creating dead trees, or "snags," that are easily excavated for nest cavities and also provide foraging substrate for bark and wood-boring beetles.
Wildfire influences wildlife habitat in ways that benefit some species while degrading habitat for others. Recent wildfire favors several woodpecker species by creating dead trees, or "snags," that are easily excavated for nest cavities and also provide foraging substrate for bark and wood-boring beetles.
Managers and scientists have long known that reforestation has many ecological, economic, and cultural benefits. But reforestation isn’t as simple as planting trees. It means planting the right trees, in the right place, at the right time - or it may mean not planting at all.
Scientists are seeing an increase in cases where forest resilience is pushed beyond a breaking point. Within the last few decades, wildfires in the western United States have increasingly burned so severely that some forests are unlikely to return to their prefire state and may convert to different forest types or even to nonforested systems like grassland or shrubland.
Aircraft play vital roles in managing wildfire, but their use is both costly and inherently risky. On average, USDA Forest Service aviation costs represent 30 percent of annual firefighting expenditures. And despite improvements in airworthiness and safety in the last decade, aviation-related accidents represented the highest category of federal firefighter fatalities.
Wildfire size is increasing and so is the erosion potential, especially within intensified fire environments. Fires such as the record-breaking Colorado Cameron Peak Fire in 2020 are so large, and burn so hot, there is very little, if any vegetation left behind. The soil is left vulnerable and exposed to weather events.
Firefighting crews count on a dampening of fire activity at night, thanks to a temperature drop and rising humidity, for much-needed respite and a chance to regroup for the next day’s efforts. However, a newly published study by Rocky Mountain Research Station fire scientists Patrick Freeborn and Matt Jolly and collaborators has found that the usual nighttime dampening of fire activity may be changing.
As we increase the pace and scale of forest restoration, scientists and managers are leveraging a constellation of powerful new GIS and remote sensing technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of forest operations. Two situations are particularly challenging and in need of innovative solutions.
We assume animal populations rebound when we restore their habitat by using native plants. But what happens when you are trying to restore native plant habitat for small mammal communities, and these same mammals are eating the seeds of the plants you are trying to reintroduce?

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