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2019 Research Highlights

Date: January 22, 2020

headshot of RMRS Station Director Monica Lear
RMRS Station Director Monica Lear


As Director of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, I am proud to be representing the excellent science produced here. In these 2019 Research Highlights you will get a flavor for the work of some of the scientists at our Station and how our work supports the mission of the Forest Service. These twenty selected highlights, and the top five Director’s Choices, were chosen because they were unique and relevant to current issues. In addition to the projects showcased below, RMRS has many more research projects located in the Station’s footprint and beyond. I invite you to browse our website to learn more about all of the science we have in progress to improve the condition of forests and grasslands across the country and around the world. For over a century, Forest Service R&D has been a research leader, delivering high-quality science with broad application. I am proud of RMRS’ contribution, along with our counterpart Stations, to the long legacy of Forest Service research.

Photo of big sage mountain brush landscape with badge indicating director's choice

A science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome - Management applications

Sampling streamwater in watersheds of the Hayman Fire with badge indicating Director's Choice

Severe wildfire has long-term consequences for stream water quality

Mt. Jefferson, covered in snow, is highly visible behind a burned section of pine trees with a badge indicating Director's Choice

Snag hazard to firefighters persists long after the smoke has cleared

Graph of seventeen years of eddy covariance data using a Bayesian statistical model showed a decrease in sublimation following a spruce beetle outbreak with a badge indicating Director's Choice

Spruce beetles reduce sublimation, causing increasing snowpack in the Wyoming mountains

Quaking aspen landscape with fall colors and badge indicating Director's Choice

Test-driving a roadmap for quaking aspen restoration

Watershed after the Las Conchas Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest. Credit goes to: Anna Jaramillo-Scarborough

After Fire: Landscape toolkit for the Southwest

The photo shows a young long-needled pine tree less than a foot tall growing next to a wooden marker with the number 6 on it.

Back from the brink: Framework to sustain resilience to species at risk

Northern goshawk research technician standing in an example of an idealized ponderosa pine forest on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona.

Big trees, bark beetles, goshawks, and timber

A collection of diorhabda carinulata (which are brown-ish-orange and green insects) on a saltcedar plant

'Chem herding' to improve biological control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in the Northern Rockies

Photograph from on top of a hill looking down on a landscape of dead and dying trees. Green vegetation in the foreground, blue skies with big white clouds in the background.

FIRE-BIRD: A GIS tool for applying habitat suitability models to inform land management planning

Infographic showing coniferous trees during a fire with text describing types of injuries and coniferous trees after fire and what those injuries look like.

How does fire kill trees?

Example of a trailing edge forest in the Southern Rockies ecoregion

Living on the edge: Trailing edge forests are at risk

A masticator works to clear vegetation near a building in the wildland/urban interface

To masticate or not: Useful tips for treating vegetation

Milkweed plants are an important host species for both monarch larvae and adult butterflies.

Milking milkweeds for more monarch butterfly habitat

Night-vision photo of a lynx captured by a trail camera

Rare carnivore detections from environmental DNA in snow

Old-growth ponderosa pine forests in Long Valley and Fort Valley Experimental Forests provide a window into historical spatial patterns of trees and non-forested openings.

Remnant old-growth ponderosa pine forests provide insights on spatial patterns

A Forest Service technician setting up a weather data-logger at a bluebunch wheatgrass common garden near Richfield Idaho.

Strong patterns of local adaptation in Great Basin plants

Dwarf Bear Poppy at the White Dome Preserve (photo credit: Alyson DeNittis)

Using drone imagery to census a rare desert plant

Ponderosa pine regeneration is sensitive to moisture availability and have limited seed dispersal. Ponderosa forest recovery can be delayed following disturbance. Drier and hotter conditions may reduce ponderosa regeneration (Photo by R. Addington, TNC).

Using FIA data to predict forest understory vegetation structure

Pioneer Fire in Idaho, night time photo of active fire running up hill

Wildfires know no boundaries


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