Explore featured publications representing ongoing work being conducted by early career professionals across the Department of the Interior's Climate Science Centers and partner institutions. If you are a student or post-doc affiliated with one of the regional CSCs and would like to have your publications featured on this page, please contact us at

North Central CSC

Remote sensing with species distribution models; Mapping tamarisk invasions using the software for assisted habitat modeling (SAHM)

West, A.M. et al.

2016 | Journal of Visualized Experiments
Tamarisk on a river

Early detection of invasive plant species is vital for the management of natural resources and protection of ecosystem processes. The use of satellite remote sensing for mapping the distribution of invasive plants is becoming more common, however conventional imaging software and classification methods have been shown to be unreliable. In this study, we test and evaluate the use of five species distribution model techniques fit with satellite remote sensing data to map invasive tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) along the Arkansas River in Southeastern Colorado.

Tags: phenology

Drought risk and adaptation in the interior United States: Understanding the importance of local context for resource management in times of drought

McNeeley, S.M., Beeton, T.A. & Ojima, D.S.

2016 | American Meteorological Society

In this paper, we employed a social-ecological system framework, whereby key informant interviews with DOI and tribal resource managers were combined with local and regional drought indicator data to: a) characterize the social and ecological factors that contribute to drought vulnerability; and b) better understand the ways in which drought onset, persistence, severity, and recovery impacts management of endangered fish in northwest Colorado and bison in southwest South Dakota.

The climate space of fire regimes in north-western North America

Whitman, E., et al.

2015 | Journal of Biogeography
Mosaic of burn severity in a burned forest.

We characterized fire-regime components (frequency, size, severity, seasonality and cause) along climate gradients and a gradient of human influence. Fire size, frequency, burn severity and cause were interrelated, whereas humans influenced patterns of burn severity and ignition cause. Wildfire activity was highest where thermal and moisture gradients converge to promote fuel production, flammability and ignitions. Thus, future changes to climate may lead to ecological changes through altered fire regimes.

Southeast CSC

Rodent Response to Harvesting Woody Biomass for Bioenergy Production

2017 | The Journal of Wildlife Management

We assessed the influence of woody biomass harvests on rodent abundances using an operational-scale, randomized complete block experimental design study in North Carolina (4 blocks) and Georgia, USA (4 blocks). The lack of consistent relationships between rodent abundance and volume of retained woody debris suggests that the rodent species captured in this study were not affected by current efficiencies of operational woody biomass harvests in southeastern United States loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations. 

Wood decay and the persistence of resprouting species in pyrophilic ecosystems.

Just, M.G., Schager, J.L, Hohmann, M.G., & Hoffman, W.A.

2017 | Trees | Structure and Function

We examined below ground wood decay compartmentalization along a gradient of fire frequency. We found that a savanna tree species had the least wood decay after experimental coppicing relative to other resprouting species at more mesic gradient locations.

Long-term evaluation of lesser prairie-chicken nest ecology in response to grassland restoration at two spatial scales

2016 | The Journal of Wildlife Management

We used a controlled, paired completely randomized design study to assess the influence of grazing and tebuthiuron application and their combined use on lesser prairie-chicken nest site selection and nest survival at 2 spatial scales (i.e., treatment and microhabitat) in 4 treatments; 1) tebuthiuron with grazing (T-G); 2) tebuthiuron without grazing (T-NG); 3) no tebuthiuron with grazing (NT-G); and 4) a control of no tebuthiuron, no grazing (NT-NG) from 2001–2010 in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, USA. Results suggest a tebuthiuron application rate of 0.60 kg/ha, short-duration low-intensity grazing, and a combination of these restoration techniques were not detrimental to lesser prairie-chicken nest site selection and nest survival.

Do biomass Harvesting Guidelines influence herpetofauna following harvests of logging residues for renewable energy?

2016 | Ecological Applications

We compared reptile and amphibian species richness and abundance of Anaxyrus terrestris and Gastrophryne carolinensis among six treatments that varied in volume and spatial arrangement of woody biomass retained after clearcutting in North Carolina, USA (n = 4) 2011-2014 and Georgia (n = 4), USA 2011-2013. A lack of consistent effects on herpetofauna suggests sufficient woody biomass volumes were retained following biomass harvests without implementing BHGs in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S.  

Managing American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) population growth by targeting nesting season vital rates.

Felton, S.K., Hostetter, N.J., Pollock, K.H., & Simons, T.R.

2016 | BioOne

In North Carolina, USA, management to conserve the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) targets component vital rates related to fecundity, specifically nest and chick survival. We used a 3-stage deterministic matrix model to determine the current state of the oystercatcher population in North Carolina and assess the effectiveness of current management strategies in sustaining the population.

Where fire stops: Vegetation structure and microclimate influence fire spread along an ecotonal gradient

Just, M.G., Hohmann, M.G., & Hoffmann, W.A.

2016 | Plant Ecology

Positive feedbacks influenced by direct and indirect interactions between fire, vegetation, and microclimate can allow pyrophilic and pyrophobic ecosystems to co-occur in the same landscape, resulting in the juxtaposition of flammable and non-flammable vegetation. To quantify the drivers of these feedbacks, we combined measurements of vegetation, fuels, and microclimate with observations of fire spread along ecotonal gradients.

Detectability of change in winter precipitation within mountain landscapes: Spatial patterns and uncertainty

Silverman, N.L. & Maneta, M.P.

2016 | Water Resources Research
Figure 11; Gridcells projected to have significant change in winter precipitation by mid-century and the gridcells where this change could be accurately detected by the observational network.

Detecting long-term change in seasonal precipitation using ground observations is dependent on the representativity of the point measurement to the surrounding landscape. In mountainous regions, representativity can be poor and lead to large uncertainties in precipitation estimates at high elevations or in areas where observations are sparse.