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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 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

Education and Certifications

  • 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

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • 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

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government