Fort Collins Science Center

Ecosystem Change and Disturbance

Filter Total Items: 37
Date published: July 6, 2018
Status: Active

Human Dimensions of Ecological Drought

Ecological impacts of drought have been rarely considered compared to agricultural or municipal water supply effects.

Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Economics of Wildland Fire

In recent decades, wildfires have increased in size and intensity, and the fire season has lengthened. This and other factors have increased wildfire suppression costs and risks to human health and safety. SEA economists investigate numerous aspects of wildland fire, its impacts, and how to mitigate the risk wildfire poses to people, resources, and property.

Date published: May 29, 2018
Status: Active

The Wildfire Research (WiRē) Team

Wildfires cost billions of dollars to suppress annually, yet they still devastate lives, communities, and ecosystems. While wildfire is a natural phenomenon, learning to live with wildfire is a social issue – so we need a social solution.

Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Agricultural Practices

Environmentally responsible land management has direct and indirect implications for wildlife, water quality, and air quality in terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems far beyond their extent. Agricultural land use accounts for over 50 percent of the surface area of the contiguous United States. Public recognition that social, aesthetic, and recreational values enhance the traditional...

Contacts: Mark Vandever
Date published: August 30, 2017
Status: Active

Reconstructing Flow History From Riparian Tree Rings

Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...

Date published: January 17, 2017
Status: Active

Ecological Drought in Riparian Ecosystems

Drought is killing riparian trees along many rivers in the western United States. The cause can be increasing temperature or decreasing precipitation, flow or water-table elevation. At multiple locations we are relating water availability to physiological measurements of tree survival and water stress, such as ring width, carbon stable isotope ratio and branch hydraulic conductivity. These...

Date published: December 8, 2016
Status: Completed

Native Pollinators in Agricultural Ecosystems

Beginning in 2012, the USGS collaborated with the USDA to assess the effectiveness of pollinator plantings and how alteration of landscapes has affected native pollinators and potentially contributed to their decline. The 2008 Farm Bill recognized contributions made by pollinators and made conservation of pollinator habitat a priority. The USGS is assessing native bee habitat, diversity, and...

Contacts: Mark Vandever
Date published: December 7, 2016
Status: Active

Assessing Threats to Conservation Priority Areas in State Wildlife Action Plans

States across the U.S. have developed Wildlife Action Plans, with the purpose of preventing future listings under the federal Endangered Species Act. Habitat loss and fragmentation are key threats to wildlife in the U.S., and housing development is a major driver of both. USGS is working to quantify the vulnerability of and threat to priority areas in State Wildlife Action Plans from future...

Date published: December 7, 2016
Status: Active

Higher and Farther: Patterns of Development within Protected Areas

There is a well-known bias in the location of protected areas both within the US and globally. Lands protected for conservation tend to be located on less productive soils at high elevations far from cities. USGS is exploring whether this ‘high and far’ paradigm applies within protected areas as well. That is, does human modification within lands that already have some degree of protection,...

Date published: December 7, 2016
Status: Active

Developing Broad Scale Indicators for Monitoring Ecosystems and Landscapes

Many issues currently facing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other large land managers span large landscapes, including sage-grouse conservation, wildfires, and energy development. Such challenges involve changes at both local and broad scales, but monitoring has typically focused at the scale of individual sites. The USGS is working to develop broad-scale indicators for monitoring...

Date published: December 7, 2016
Status: Active

Science Support for Implementing a Landscape Approach to Resource Management in the Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is committed to implementing a landscape approach to resource management to help achieve sustainable social, environmental, and economic outcomes on the public lands it manages. USGS is providing science support for the effort, including identifying core principles of a landscape approach, demonstrating the benefits of multiscale data for evaluating...

Date published: December 1, 2016
Status: Active

Riparian Ecology

Riparian ecologists at the Fort Collins Science Center study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. ...