Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC)


Scientists from the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center capitalize on their diverse expertise to answer scientific questions shaped by the environments of the western United States. We collaborate with each other and with partners to provide rigorous, objective, and timely information and guidance for the management and conservation of biological systems in the West and worldwide. 

FRESC Research Teams

FRESC Research Teams

FRESC scientists, individually or collaboratively with partners, investigate high-priority questions about biological systems.

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Date published: July 13, 2018

Reducing Mercury Loads in The Cosumnes River

The Cosumnes River watershed has seasonal, non-point source hotspots for total mercury and methylmercury production, which discharge to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in north-central California. To reduce mercury loads to the Delta, researchers created open-water deep cells at the downstream end of wetlands.

Date published: July 9, 2018

Inbreeding in Northern Spotted Owls - Insights From Over 30 Years of Monitoring Data

In a study led by the USGS, researchers developed a framework to infer inbreeding rates of Northern Spotted Owls when incomplete parentage information exists.

Date published: July 9, 2018

Environmental Factors Affect Success of Sagebrush Reseeding Efforts

In the western U.S., big sagebrush ecosystems provide habitat for about 350 species of conservation concern, but are sensitive to disturbance and are in decline. Big sagebrush ecosystems have low and variable precipitation, which makes restoration a challenge.


Year Published: 2018

Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): Insights from over 30 years of monitoring data

Inbreeding has been difficult to quantify in wild populations because of incomplete parentage information. We applied and extended a recently developed framework for addressing this problem to infer inbreeding rates in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) across the Pacific Northwest, USA. Using pedigrees from 14,187 Northern Spotted...

Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Forsman, Eric D.; Anthony, Robert G.; Diller, Lowell; Dugger, Katie M.; Franklin, Alan B.; Fleming, Tracy L.; Gremel, Scott; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Higley, Mark; Herter, Dale R.; Sovern, Stan G
Miller, M.P., Haig, S.M., Forsman, E.D., Anthony, R.G., Diller, L., Dugger, K.M., Franklin, A.B., Gremel, S.A., Lesmeister, D.B., Higley, M., Herter, D.R., Sovern, S.G., 2018, Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina)- insights from over 30 years of monitoring data: The Auk: Ornithological Advances, v. 135, no. 4, p. 821-833,

Year Published: 2018

Chapter 4: Northern spotted owl habitat and populations: Status and threats

The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 (USFWS 1990). Providing adequate amounts of suitable forest cover to sustain the subspecies was a major component of the first recovery plan for northern spotted owls (USFWS 1992) and a driver in the basic reserve design and old-...

Lesmeister, Damon B.; Davis, Ramond J; Singleton, Peter H; Wiens, David
Lesmeister, D.B., Davis, R.J., Singleton, P.H., Wiens, J.D., 2018, Chapter 4. Northern Spotted Owl- Status of Populations and Habitats In Spies, T.A., Stine, P., Gravenmier, R., Long, J., Reilly, M., eds., Synthesis of Science to Inform Land Management within the Northwest Forest Plan Area: PNW-GTR-966 Vol. 1, Portland, OR, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, 56 pp.

Year Published: 2018

Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation

Lead (Pb) exposure in wildlife is a widespread management and conservation concern. Quantitative determination of Pb concentrations in wildlife tissues is the foundation for estimating exposure and risk. Development of low‐cost, portable instruments has improved access and cost‐effectiveness of determining Pb concentrations in blood samples, while...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Craighead, Derek; Domenech, Robert; Langner, Heiko W.; Parish, Chris N.; Shreading, Adam; Welch, Alacia; Wolstenholme, Rachel
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Bedrosian, B., Craighead, D., Domenech, R., Langner, H.W., Parish, C., Shreading, A., Welch, A., Wolstenholme, R., 2018, Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation: Wildlife Society Bulletin, p. online,