Student Profile: Sheven Andersen

Megan K. Nasto

Sheven Andersen was one of our best Undergraduate Technical Analysts. He always came into work with a smile and the drive to analyze fires. While we're sad to lose him at the Institute, we are incredibly happy to see him begin his career with the US Forest Service. Learn a little about what makes him tick by clicking the profile below. Here's to you, Sheven!

New Publication Alert!

Large-diameter trees, snags, and deadwood in southern Utah, USA

Megan K. Nasto

Our Director - the one and only Jim Lutz - published a great new paper on the accumulation and constituents of deadwood in the Utah Forest Dynamics Plot (UFDP) in Cedar Breaks National Monument.

In the wake of the Dendoctonus rufipennis (spruce beetle) outbreak in the subalpine forests of the Colorado Plateau in the 1990s, Jim and his collaborators tracked all fallen trees ≥ 1 cm in diameter at breast height and mapped all pieces of deadwood (down woody debris) ≥ 10 cm diameter and ≥ 1 m in length every year since 2015. They found that while the outbreak killed most of the larger Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce), other tree species dominate the total amount of deadwood on the forest floor due to slow decompositions rates and long fire intervals. Such explicit measurements and mapping of deadwood improve out understanding of the heterogeniety of surface fuels and potential fire behavior.

Jim co-atuhored this work with Utah State University (USU) graduate students, Soren Struckman and Tucker Furniss, University of Alberta, Edmonton graduate student, Joseph Birch, and USU faculty, Larissa Yocom and Darren McAvoy.

The UFDP is a research and educational project affiliated with USU, the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Smithsonian ForestGEO Network.

Check out the paper published in Ecological Processes here!

Annual accumulation of deadwood ≥ 10 cm diameter in 13.64 ha of the Utah Forest Dynamics Plot, as well as deadwood present at the first census in 2015.

2020 Field Season

Megan K. Nasto

We conducted our first field season this past summer, and we must say that we had such a blast establishing our first set of Composite Burn Index plots to begin validating our remotely-sensed techniques of analyzing burn severity!

Check out this infographic to learn more about what we accomplished. Here's to many more summers of field work!

A Word From One of Our Own!

Emily Liese discusses what she learned from the UFI and how it will help her succeed.

Megan K. Nasto

After working the 2020 field season with us, Utah State University undergraduate - Emily Liese - decided she couldn't have enough of the Institute! Read here about her experience working in the office as an Intern for the fall 2020 semester!

2020 Ecological Society of America Virtual Meeting

Megan K. Nasto

We co-organized an Organized Oral Session for the 2020 Ecological Society of America Virtual Meeting with Utah State University graduate students, Sara Germain and Tucker Furniss. Our session was titled: Enhancing Our Ecological Understanding of the new Fire Normal with Large Datasets, Novel Methods, and New Perspectives. Along with experts in the field - Dr. Sean Parks, Dr. Alina Cansler, and Dr. Louise Loudermilk - we presented our respective research with the goal to move discussions of wildfire in the US to a more quantitative and contextualized footing.

During our live Q and A session, we were beyond thrilled to have over 70 participants join us in our discussion that went well over the anticicpated time limit. While we were disappointed we couldn't all meet together in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still had an intellectually stimulating conversation. If you missed it, don't fret! You can watch the recorded presentations of the invited speakers, as well as the Q and A here!

Here's to hopefully getting together soon to continue pushing the field of fire ecology further!

Student Profile: Jordan Hanson

Get a glimpse into one of our Undergraduate Technical Analysts before he graduates in Spring 2020

Megan K. Nasto

Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Workshop

All-lands forest management in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and surrounding states

Megan K. Nasto

We were thrilled to attend the 2020 Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Workshop put on by the three Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes!

The three Institutes came together in Albuquerque, NM with over 150 land managemenr representatives from a variety of state and federal agencies, non-profits, environmental groups, universities, and community collaboratives to encourage collaborative processes and adaptive ecosystem management in response to the ever increasingly severe wildfires in the western U.S.

We not only promoted our Institute but learned an incredible amount about how to evolve and develop our capacity to be an impactful forest collaborative just like the spearheading Institutes in our neighbor states.

Check out this fantastic write-up by Colorado Forest Restoration Institute's Hannah Brown describing the event.

Take a gander below at the poster we presented to promote our Institute.