Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Landscape Management Research Program

WERC scientists study landscape level change and other environmental threats to ecosystems that provide for wildlife and humans alike. Our research programs inform the recovery of ecosystems such as the nearshore marine environment, coastal marshes, wetlands, forests, Pacific islands, arid deserts, and the sagebrush steppe. Ecosystem-level research is conducted in particular on National Parks, Bureau of Land Management and Department of Defense lands, National Wildlife Refuges, and State lands, bays, and interior and coastal waters The projects below offer a closer look into WERC studies informing ecosystem management.

Filter Total Items: 35

Using Drone Imagery to Assess Impacts of the 2018 Carr Fire

USGS WERC’s Dr. Karen Thorne and her research team are using drone imagery to understand how the 2018 Carr Fire affected ecosystems and cultural resources. The study, a collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), focuses on Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California. The drone images will help the WERC researchers identify changes in topography, cultural sites, debris...
link

Using Drone Imagery to Assess Impacts of the 2018 Carr Fire

USGS WERC’s Dr. Karen Thorne and her research team are using drone imagery to understand how the 2018 Carr Fire affected ecosystems and cultural resources. The study, a collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), focuses on Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California. The drone images will help the WERC researchers identify changes in topography, cultural sites, debris...
Learn More

Southern California Wildfire Risk Scenario Project

Every year, wildfires devastate the landscapes of Southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego. How has a higher number of human-caused fires affected fire hazards and threats to resources? WERC’s Dr. Jon Keeley and collaborators are analyzing fire patterns across the state to help cities balance their management of fire hazards and natural resources.
link

Southern California Wildfire Risk Scenario Project

Every year, wildfires devastate the landscapes of Southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego. How has a higher number of human-caused fires affected fire hazards and threats to resources? WERC’s Dr. Jon Keeley and collaborators are analyzing fire patterns across the state to help cities balance their management of fire hazards and natural resources.
Learn More

Modeling Sea-Level Rise in San Francisco Bay Estuary

With sea level rise, how will the coastal habitats of the San Francisco Bay Estuary change over the next 100 years? Mapping and modeling studies by Dr. Karen Thorne, WERC scientists, and partners have produced scenarios for this important coastal ecosystem.
link

Modeling Sea-Level Rise in San Francisco Bay Estuary

With sea level rise, how will the coastal habitats of the San Francisco Bay Estuary change over the next 100 years? Mapping and modeling studies by Dr. Karen Thorne, WERC scientists, and partners have produced scenarios for this important coastal ecosystem.
Learn More

Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians in Northern California

This project improves our understanding of the ecology of amphibians in northern California and evaluates methods of managing landscapes and these imperiled species. In particular, Dr. Brian Halstead examines the distribution and demography of amphibians to understand factors that affect where amphibians are found and how populations change. He further explores the relationships of amphibians with...
link

Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians in Northern California

This project improves our understanding of the ecology of amphibians in northern California and evaluates methods of managing landscapes and these imperiled species. In particular, Dr. Brian Halstead examines the distribution and demography of amphibians to understand factors that affect where amphibians are found and how populations change. He further explores the relationships of amphibians with...
Learn More

Wildland Fire Science in Forests and Deserts

Fuel conditions and fire regimes in western forests and deserts have been altered due to past land management, biological invasions, and recent extreme weather events and climate shifts. These changes have created extreme fire risk to local and regional communities, threatening their economic health related to wildland recreation, forest production, livestock operations, and other uses of public...
link

Wildland Fire Science in Forests and Deserts

Fuel conditions and fire regimes in western forests and deserts have been altered due to past land management, biological invasions, and recent extreme weather events and climate shifts. These changes have created extreme fire risk to local and regional communities, threatening their economic health related to wildland recreation, forest production, livestock operations, and other uses of public...
Learn More

Population Structure and Demography of the Least Bell’s Vireo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Use of Restored Riparian Habitat

Riparian woodlands are highly productive ecosystems that support a disproportionately high fraction of regional biodiversity. They are also one of the most endangered terrestrial systems in temperate North America, and have been reduced to just 5% of their former extent in California and throughout the American southwest. These losses have been accompanied by steep declines in numerous plant and...
link

Population Structure and Demography of the Least Bell’s Vireo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Use of Restored Riparian Habitat

Riparian woodlands are highly productive ecosystems that support a disproportionately high fraction of regional biodiversity. They are also one of the most endangered terrestrial systems in temperate North America, and have been reduced to just 5% of their former extent in California and throughout the American southwest. These losses have been accompanied by steep declines in numerous plant and...
Learn More

Aridlands Disturbances and Restoration Ecology

Desert landscapes are rapidly changing due to increases in invasive plant species, frequency of wildfires, urban and energy development, recreational use, military training, and climate variation. Dr. Todd Esque, USGS researchers, and collaborators are working together to investigate these changes and provide managers with key information that can be used to manage natural resources more...
link

Aridlands Disturbances and Restoration Ecology

Desert landscapes are rapidly changing due to increases in invasive plant species, frequency of wildfires, urban and energy development, recreational use, military training, and climate variation. Dr. Todd Esque, USGS researchers, and collaborators are working together to investigate these changes and provide managers with key information that can be used to manage natural resources more...
Learn More

Desert Tortoise Ecology, Health, Habitat, and Conservation Biology

The desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. USGS WERC scientists, along with project partners have been conducting long-term analyses on how changes in the southwestern deserts of the United States can affect desert tortoise populations. Dr. Todd Esque and his team are investigating how habitat disturbances and restoration projects influence tortoise populations...
link

Desert Tortoise Ecology, Health, Habitat, and Conservation Biology

The desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. USGS WERC scientists, along with project partners have been conducting long-term analyses on how changes in the southwestern deserts of the United States can affect desert tortoise populations. Dr. Todd Esque and his team are investigating how habitat disturbances and restoration projects influence tortoise populations...
Learn More

Southwestern Desert Ecology of At-risk Species and their Habitats

The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants, animals...
link

Southwestern Desert Ecology of At-risk Species and their Habitats

The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants, animals...
Learn More

Ecological Stressors - Rocky Coastlines, Mangroves, Marshes, Droughts, and Storms

Coastal estuaries that contain marshes and mangroves are currently being reshaped by changing ocean and atmospheric conditions through prolong drought, sea-level rise and increased extreme storm events. Many projected increases in sea-level are expected to result in loss of tidal wetlands and their component species. In addition, changing sediment loads, extreme tide and storm events, and shifting...
link

Ecological Stressors - Rocky Coastlines, Mangroves, Marshes, Droughts, and Storms

Coastal estuaries that contain marshes and mangroves are currently being reshaped by changing ocean and atmospheric conditions through prolong drought, sea-level rise and increased extreme storm events. Many projected increases in sea-level are expected to result in loss of tidal wetlands and their component species. In addition, changing sediment loads, extreme tide and storm events, and shifting...
Learn More

Supporting Informed Responses to Sea-Level Rise

To facilitate communication and outreach of sea level rise research results and implications, Dr. Karen Thorne and members of USGS WERC are hosting in-person workshops along the Pacific coast at different sites in Washington, Oregon, and California.
link

Supporting Informed Responses to Sea-Level Rise

To facilitate communication and outreach of sea level rise research results and implications, Dr. Karen Thorne and members of USGS WERC are hosting in-person workshops along the Pacific coast at different sites in Washington, Oregon, and California.
Learn More

Detection, Attribution, and Interpretation of Forest Changes

Dr. Nathan Stephenson and colleagues seek to determine what changes are occurring in forests, why they are occurring, and what they mean. For example, they have documented a long-term, apparently climatically-induced increase of tree mortality rates in otherwise undisturbed old forests across the western U.S., implying that these forests could become net sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
link

Detection, Attribution, and Interpretation of Forest Changes

Dr. Nathan Stephenson and colleagues seek to determine what changes are occurring in forests, why they are occurring, and what they mean. For example, they have documented a long-term, apparently climatically-induced increase of tree mortality rates in otherwise undisturbed old forests across the western U.S., implying that these forests could become net sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Learn More