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Environment and People

Science Spotlights

A world map coded by temperature, showing many areas exceeding 36 degrees Celsius in the recent past or the future.
Heat waves lasting days or weeks are among potential hazards expected to increase with climate change. Beyond heat waves, sustained temperatures of ≥ 36°C may be incompatible with high urban population densities. Most land area may exceed 36°C maximum monthly temperature by 2081–2100 under our current fossil-fueled pathway.Heat waves lasting days or weeks are among potential hazards expected to increase with climate change. Beyond heat waves,...
A map with roads color coded for risk
In 2016, the USDA Forest Service initiated the risk management assistance (RMA) program to improve the quality of strategic decision-making on its largest and most complex wildfire events. Beyond supporting many of the most complex incidents, the risk management assistance program has expanded to also incorporate pre-event assessment and training, post-fire review, organizational change, and system improvement. A new article provides details and...
smoke coming from two mountain landscape fires
A new report and video recount historically important fires and the development of wilderness fire management in Northern Rockies Wilderness areas and National Parks from the 1970s to the present. An improved understanding of this fascinating history, including the challenges overcome and lessons learned by managers in this region will continue to inform fire management policies and decisions across the Nation.
The cover of "Intermountain-Rocky Mountain Research Station Science Partner Program: A Road Map to Connecting Forest Service Science and Management"
The Science Partner Program was designed and piloted by the Rocky Mountain Research Station and Intermountain Region. This Road Map seeks to share inspiration for this type of co-production model with other land managers and scientists interested in knowing more about or creating these kinds of cross-agency connections.
A four-panel map of burn severity, erosion, sediment transport, and delivered sediment.
Rainfall-caused erosion following wildfire can contaminate community water sources. The research team used a simulation approach to estimate the likelihood of water quality degradation and collection system shortfalls for a community with multiple water sources in Colorado. 
Open pine forest with grassland understory treated by fire.
Land use and fire exclusion have influenced ecosystems worldwide, resulting in alternative ecosystem states. Open forests of savannas and woodlands used to be common, with an abundance of native grasses and flowering plants in the southeastern United States. Open pine ecosystems have transitioned to closed forests, primarily comprised of broadleaf species, and loblolly and slash pine plantations.
A deer in a grassy area.
This research modeled deer densities and land classes, which substantiated that deer occurred at greater densities in deciduous forests and lower densities in agricultural and residential development.
Figure showing maps of maintain/protect/restore strategies, criterion areas, and graphs of revenue/cost/profit.
Data-driven decision making is the key to providing effective and efficient wildfire protection and sustainable use of natural resources. We prototyped a spatially explicit approach to data driven decision making to describe wildfire risk and the condition and costs associated with implementing multiple prescriptions for risk mitigation in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, USA.
A flow chart showing steps in wildfire risk mitigation from risk assessment, to designing outreach, to parcel owner engaging with wildfire organization, to parcel owner pursuing mitigation, to mitigation of wildfire risk.
Two recent innovative papers demonstrate how behavioral science experiments can provide evidence about the effectiveness of wildfire education outreach 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.