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Landscape ecology

Science Spotlights

Wildfire in Alaskan black spruce forest. Photo by Laona DeWilde.
Fire severity mapping based on satellite imagery has shown mixed success in the North American boreal forest.  We present a new method that takes advantage of cloud-based computing and image repository and demonstrates promise for improving satellite-derived fire severity estimates in these forests.
Phenocam network graphic
Phenology is the study of the seasonality in nature, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. This software suite was developed to enable phenological analysis at scales ranging from organisms to landscapes and from days to decades.
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 pronghorn
Identifying and enhancing habitat for large ungulates in the Great Basin has become an increased priority. To aid in this effort, we mapped current and future habitat and corridor areas for pronghorn across this region. 
Koa trees with a blanket of grass underneath.
Planting old pastures with the native tree Acacia koa is a common forest restoration strategy in Hawaii, with goals including natural secondary succession to more diverse forest. Often, however, alien grasses remain dominant in the understory, without native species naturally recruiting into restoration areas. We explored the causes.
Field crews walking through 15-month-old regenerating native Acacia koa in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
Similar to the continental western United States, invasive, alien grasses in the Hawaiian Islands promote fire and may lead to alteration of forested ecosystems. We looked at how pre-fire grass cover, pre-fire tree density, and burn severity affected post-fire Acacia koa regeneration across different habitat types.
Thumbnail image of the Storymap on Partnership between LANDFIRE and FIA
Wildland fire management needs data that is both nationally consistent and locally relevant. Fifteen years ago, the LANDFIRE program was started to address these critical needs with an all-lands approach. Since the beginning, LANDFIRE has relied on Forest Inventory and Analysis data to provide comprehensive, and reliable field-based reference data and analysis support. Together, these programs now support more partners than ever.
A stand of fire-killed trees that before the 2014 King fire was a productive nest stand for spotted owls.
Large, severe fires (or “megafires”) are becoming more common in many forest systems, but relatively little is known about the longer-term effects of megafires on ecosystems and the wildlife that inhabit them. This work examines the persistent effects of a 2014 megafire on a well-studied population of California spotted owls, showing an enduring loss of individuals and nesting structures.