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Forest and Woodland Ecosystems

Mountain lake on the Lolo National Forest.

Quantifying ecological resilience at landscape scales

Ecological resilience has previously been explored mostly as a theoretical concept. To put it into practice, managers need methods to quantify the ecological resilience of current conditions and project resilience under future scenarios. This paper offers a process for using geospatial data, simulation modeling, and landscape pattern analysis to evaluate ecosystem resilience at management scales.
A measuring tool encircles a young ponderosa pine

Habitat and growth of ponderosa pine seedlings 11-16 years after fire

Ponderosa pine seedling establishment can be constrained following especially large, high-severity wildfires. Young seedlings face high mortality levels in the first few years and remain vulnerable to the next fire until they are taller.
Infrared gas analyzers

Improved carbon flux measurements in cold, snow covered ecosystems

In cold ecosystems, the annual carbon balance can be dominated by winter respiration. However, the eddy-covariance technique, a common methodology to measure net ecosystem exchange of carbon, can be inaccurate in cold climates due to the effect a warm sensor has on its gas measurement. RMRS researchers investigated and revised a common correction for this phenomenon.

The Forest and Woodland Ecosystems (FWE) Science Program acquires, develops, and delivers scientific knowledge and management tools for sustaining and restoring the health, biodiversity, productivity, and ecosystem processes of forest and woodland landscapes. This research is critical in light of the multiple and varied threats that these ecosystems face, including urbanization and human developments, extreme wildfire events, insect and disease outbreaks, exotic species invasions, and drought.

FWE scientists conduct short- and long-term research across a wide geographic area, with an emphasis on:

  • Spatial and temporal patterns of disturbance,

  • Managing complex landscapes in a changing environment,

  • Consequences of management activities,

  • Adaptive capacity of forests and woodlands, and

  • Mitigation of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide.


Please see this page for information about the general technical report A Scenario-Based Assessment to Inform Sustainable Ponderosa Pine Timber Harvest on the Black Hills National Forest.