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New project! Projecting aspen productivity and distribution in Idaho

posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:29 PM by Alec Kretchun   [ updated Dec 19, 2014, 10:40 AM by ]
The DE&L lab is excited to announce a new project we started late this summer. "Projecting climate change effects on aspen distribution and productivity in the northern Rockies by coupling hydrological and landscape disturbance models" is a project the lab recently began in collaboration with the US Geological Survey, Montana State University, Oregon State University, the Northwest Watershed Research Center, and the University of Idaho. 

All over the west, people have seen aspen stands declining in alarming numbers. This is particularly concerning given aspen's role as a keystone species; with loss of aspen potentially comes loss of numerous other plant and animal species that depend on aspen woodlands, not to mention endangering the social and economic benefits this species provides. Though models predict a climate-caused decline in aspen in the coming decades, questions remain: "What determines aspen productivity in areas of snow-rain transition?" "How does post-fire aspen regeneration vary along winter to summer precipitation gradients?" "How will shifting patterns of water balance influence future distribution of aspen under climate change?" "How will the combination of climate and vegetation change affect the water balance dynamics of areas currently colonized by aspen?" Answering these and other questions will help researchers and managers better understand what is to come for this important species in Idaho in the coming century. We are excited to get going on this fascinating new topic. Any questions can be directed towards Alec Kretchun or Rob Scheller

This project was made possible by funding through the Northwest Climate Science Center.