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Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

A single standing tree surrounded by mostly fallen, dead trees and grass, and a few seedlings.

Fire refugia and forest resilience

Fire refugia are places within high-severity burns that remain unburned or burn with low severity. This study used satellite imagery and field data to better understand where fire refugia occur and how they promote forest recovery and ecosystem resilience.
Map depicts climate corridors – potential movement routes between current climate types and where those climates will occur in the future – for the western United States.

Human land uses reduce climate connectivity

Climate change will cause many species to shift their ranges. To do so successfully, individual organisms will need hospitable travel pathways. These climate corridors will be critical for species persistence.
A man and woman in a canoe on a river, smiling at the camera, with trees in the background.

Aldo and Leonardo: A wilderness science and art collaboration

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and Colorado Art Ranch collaborated to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by hosting artist residencies in six wilderness areas.


The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, part of Rocky Mountain Research Station, is an interagency, multi-bureau federal research facility on the campus of the University of Montana. 

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute's sign.

The institute’s impact is national and international in scope, and its work is guided by an interagency wilderness policy council and steering committee. 

Leopold Institute scientists focus on wilderness and wildlands protected areas issues and have a long history of supporting managers stewarding the U.S. National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as collaborating with academic, NGO, community, and other partners within the U.S. and internationally.

Please visit the Leopold Institute’s external website to learn more.