Areas of expertise
What do we research?
...on the ground
...in the lab
...from the air
Our collective expertise in a variety of disciplines offers this century’s scientists and stewards a comprehensive picture of the foundational resources that support life on earth.
Our field of vision peers through microscopic lenses, surveys the bird’s-eye view and envisions a stewardship future for forests and rangelands worldwide.
We ask scientific questions that integrate community needs into research applications for forests and rangelands.
Our results show what’s happening on the ground, leading to progressive change. Within their specific areas of expertise, our faculty are currently exploring many of the following topics.
Informing tough choices
Land managers have challenging decisions to make. Our collaborative research is tried and tested, and continually offers local leaders with the latest body of knowledge they need about forests and rangelands.
- Environmental controls on conifer regeneration at multiple scales
- Managing for woodland resilience to drought
- Assessing the evolution and adaptation of multi-stakeholder collaborative governance in national forest management
- Individual and collaborative decision-making on rangelands
- Pastoralists’ traditional ecological knowledge and rangeland stewardship
- Identifying potential management options to overcome constraints on upward tree migration in the Southern Rocky Mountains
- Operations research, statistics and systems dynamic models to support strategic wildfire management
- Examining factors affecting inter-organizational cooperation for cross-boundary wildfire risk management
- Remote sensing forest structure
- Characterizing controls of forest growth
- Developing a decision tool to support USFS National Forest planning
- The future of Colorado’s forests: using elevation clines and physiology to assess the fate of Aspen and Ponderosa Pine in the next century of climate change
- What does it take to kill a grass? Improving the resilience of ranching operations through a new understanding of drought-induced mortality of perennial grasses
How it works
We study the delicate patterns and relationships that exist in forests and rangelands. Our conclusions add greater understanding for how individual elements interact to balance ecosystem services these areas offer.
- Basic ecology of Gambel oak woodlands
- Effects of changing climate on seed production and population viability of mast-seeding conifers
- Impacts of climate change and disturbances on forest dynamics
- Traditional and local ecological knowledge of pastoralists
- Effects of land management and disturbance on native pollinator communities in wildland ecosystems (seeing the forest for the bees)
- Mechanisms influencing the spread of vector-borne pathogens in forest ecosystems
- Biology and ecology of tree resistance to bark beetles
- Forest vulnerability to disturbances and climate change
- Stomping out invasive, exotic iris from wetlands
- How wolf reintroduction affects vegetation in Yellowstone National Park
- The effect of climate change and land use on the sustainability of alpine peatlands in the Andes Mountains
- Effects of Spruce Beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) Outbreaks and wildfires on Rocky Mountain Spruce-Fir Ecosystems
We discover how to restore essential ecological processes to damaged forest and rangeland ecosystems. We monitor resource use and uncover new ways to make affected spaces healthy and resilient again.
- Forest stand dynamics following fuel hazard reduction and restoration treatments
- Best practices for revegetation of salt desert ecosystems of western Colorado
- The role of soil seed banks in the passive restoration of shrublands
- Manipulating soil mycorrhizae networks to restore native plant communities
- Restoration of historic livestock impacts in Yosemite National Park
- Restoring populations of threatened plant species in energy development areas in western Colorado
- Revegetation at the Summitville Mine Superfund Site
We study the ecological benefits of fire in forests and rangelands historically shaped by this natural phenomenon. We also pioneer technology that provides better information for severe wildfire prevention and preparedness nationwide.
- Policy barriers to prescribed fire
- The social and political dimensions of prescribed and wildland fire management
- Strategic large fire management
- Large wildland fire resource requirements
- Post-fire tree regeneration and fuels following large wildfires
- Development, Assessment and Application of Physics-Based Wildland Fire Behavior Models
- Quantifying Tradeoffs among Potential Fire Behavior and Spatial Heterogeneity to Enhance Fuel Hazard Reduction and Restoration Treatment Design
- Influence of Within-Stand Variability in Tree and Surface Fuel Patterns of Fire Hazard
- Fire effects on herbaceous regeneration across an invasion gradient of grasslands and shrublands
Policy and Economics
Influencing sound decisions
We seek to understand the social forces at work for effective and influential policy and governance of public and private forests and rangelands.
- The future of U.S. forest function under changing climate, disturbance and forest management
- Corporate investment in climate change mitigation on National Forests
- Evaluation of innovative approaches to forest policy and governance
- Gender, culture, class and power in rangeland and natural resource management
- Strategic planning and budgeting for wildland fire programs