Branch Chief: Zack Bowen
FORT scientists in the Ecosystem Dynamics Branch investigate a diversity of complex natural resource problems at the landscape and systems levels related to energy development and land-use change, ecosystem responses to climate change and atmospheric deposition, herbivore-ecosystem interactions, and fire effects on ecosystems.
Federal agencies, cooperators, and private partners are working together to maintain, restore, and create new conservation herds of free-roaming, wild bison in the United States. A new science feature describes how USGS ungulate ecologist Kate Schoenecker and collaborators are conducting research on bison ecology to provide science information to resource managers at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, The Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and federal, state, and NGO managers of surrounding lands in south-central Colorado. Resource managers are considering the potential to establish a bison conservation herd in the San Luis Valley. Using bison habitat selection models, vegetation monitoring, bison body condition measures, and other factors, Dr. Schoenecker and her team have been instrumental in completing research and providing data and information to help conserve habitat and protect sensitive plant communities, as well as inform decision-makers considering the future of bison in the San Luis Valley.