Quantifying the Combined Effects of Climate, Fire and Treatments on the Connectivity and Fragmentation of Wildlife Populations Across the Great Basin

This project will evaluate the effects of vegetation treatments on population connectivity, genetic diversity and gene flow of wildlife species across the Great Basin. The researchers will use a dynamic landscape model to simulate fire and treatments, allowing each to vary by type (e.g., juniper removal, prescribed fire), extent, and influence on vegetation and fuels. They will develop scenarios reflecting current conditions and future scenarios based on proposed treatments and predicted future climate. They will model the effects of these scenarios on the extent and pattern of natural vegetation types and use existing information from the literature to parameterize landscape resistance models for various species under each scenario. Finally, they will use the UNICOR landscape connectivity model to predict core areas, corridors and fracture zones for each species across a range of realistic dispersal abilities.

Theme: Disturbance and Development

Project start date:

Fiscal year funded: 2016

Project status: Active

Project managers: Samuel Cushman, Rocky Mountain Research Station - Flagstaff (Lead); Valerie Horncastle, Northern Arizona University; Kathy Zeller, University of Massachusetts