Rachel A Loehman, Ph.D.

My research focuses on understanding complex, multi-scale dynamics of natural and coupled human-natural systems, particularly focused on impacts of disturbance (climate changes, wildfires, insect outbreaks, erosion and sedimentation, invasive species) on landscapes, ecological communities, and natural and cultural resources.


Research summary

My projects integrate field studies, in-situ instrumentation and monitoring, ecosystem and fire models, geospatial and statistical modeling and analysis, and ecological theory to provide new insights into changing climates, disturbance regimes, and landscapes. Applications include development of strategies for restoration of forests and fire regimes, assessments of landscape resilience and vulnerability, reconstruction of long-term human-environment interactions, predictive models of climate-vegetation-disturbance interactions, quantification of fire impacts on above- and belowground cultural and natural resources, and development of new tools and techniques for quantifying and managing shifting environments. I work in coastal, boreal, and tundra ecosystems in Alaska as well as forest and woodland ecosystems in the interior west and southwestern U.S.  

Professional memberships and service

Association for Fire Ecology (Board member, 2017-present)
Alaska Fire Science Consortium (Board member, 2016-present)
Society for American Archaeology
USGS Fire Science Communities of Practice
Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Wildfires Collaboration Team


Ph.D.  2006   The University of Montana   Ecosystems Ecology
M.A.   1999   University of New Mexico     Biogeography
B.A.    1995   University of New Mexico     Anthropology

Professional Experience

2014 - Present  Research Landscape Ecologist, US Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska
2009-2014       Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, Montana
2007-2009       Research Scientist, Systems for Environmental Management, Missoula, Montana
2007-2008      Climate Change Analyst, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, The University of Montana
2006-2007      Post-doctoral Research Scientist, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, The University of Montana
2004-2006      National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, The University of Montana
2001-2004      NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, The University of Montana
1997-2000      GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico