On Developing a Systems Thinking Model—Julia Chen

George E. P. Box once said that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” As we try to make sense of the world, we attempt to rationalize the patterns we see and how they are connected. However, generalizing these connections often narrows our views and eventually solidifies the basic facts we begin to organize Read more about On Developing a Systems Thinking Model—Julia Chen[…]

Restoration Through Ecological Forestry—Jake Barker

As we examine the complex system of forests, management, and wood products in Wyoming, we are finding that the mosaic of forest type, ownership, and industry infrastructure drive past, current, and future forest restoration. Wyoming’s forests are scattered across the state in five main pockets. Northwestern Wyoming is home to the cultural and ecological behemoth Read more about Restoration Through Ecological Forestry—Jake Barker[…]

Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan

The “Old West” and the “New West.” These terms are often used to characterize the transformation of rural western economies and communities from places oriented around extractive industries to those based around natural amenities and recreation (Bryson & Wyckoff, 2010; Krannich et al., 2011; Shumway & Otterstrom, 2001). This transformation is driven by in-migration from Read more about Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan[…]

The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller

Working lands — the farms, ranchlands, and working forests that support livelihoods —  are a vital component of the western landscape, and their ecological, economic, and social  importance is difficult to overstate. In addition to supplying much of the food we eat, they hold critical wildlife habitat, provide vital ecosystem services, and represent a way Read more about The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller[…]

Flagstaff, Arizona’s journey through rural gentrification — Molly Ryan

I’ve been living on the East Coast for over eight years now. When I meet someone new and tell them that I grew up in Arizona, they usually respond with a comment about the weather. “You must be used to this kind of heat!” they say. I know what they’re imagining: a dry, sandy landscape Read more about Flagstaff, Arizona’s journey through rural gentrification — Molly Ryan[…]

A Sustainable Redesign of the Secure Rural Schools Act: Reimagining county payments to prioritize the ecological and cultural value of forest ecosystems over the economic value of timber resources — Shannon Bell

In May of 2021, Janez Potočnik and Isabella Teixeira, the co-chairs of the International Resource Panel (IRP) that was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme, published a think-piece on how we should best value biodiversity. The piece, titled Building Biodiversity, asserts that our current approach to preserving biodiversity has failed to account for the Read more about A Sustainable Redesign of the Secure Rural Schools Act: Reimagining county payments to prioritize the ecological and cultural value of forest ecosystems over the economic value of timber resources — Shannon Bell[…]

Forest Collaboratives and Habitat Connectivity in the Northern Rockies

Laura is a Conservation Connect Fellow at the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and a U.S. Media and Storytelling Intern at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). Based in Missoula, MT, she is coordinating and facilitating forest collaboratives in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Idaho Panhandle National Forests with NFF. Her work involves facilitating conversations among collaborative Read more about Forest Collaboratives and Habitat Connectivity in the Northern Rockies[…]

Seeing the Forest for the (Burnt) Trees: How Salvage Logging in Oregon is Perpetuating Outdated Extractive Approaches to Federal Forestland Management—Shannon Bell

In late May of 2021, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a plan to log over 900 acres of forestland burned in the Holiday Farm Fire, which swept through the landscape in September of 2020 [1]. As a result of a policy change issued by the Trump administration in late 2020, the BLM is Read more about Seeing the Forest for the (Burnt) Trees: How Salvage Logging in Oregon is Perpetuating Outdated Extractive Approaches to Federal Forestland Management—Shannon Bell[…]

Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland

Shannon is working with Oregon Wild, a non-governmental organization in Oregon dedicated to the conservation of forests and wildlife across the state. She is researching and developing an alternate model for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) legislation, which has provided payments to historically timber-dependent counties in order to support them as timber harvests decline. The Read more about Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland[…]

Now Hiring Students and Open House

Ucross High Plain Stewardship Initiative (UHPSI) is now HIRING graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in courses to work as research assistants or speaker coordinators during the academic year (September/Oct 2020– May 2021). Projects focus on applied conservation and stewardship issues in the West and collaborate with western partners. All work will be completed remotely.  Information on how to apply and projects Read more about Now Hiring Students and Open House[…]

Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini and Gerald Torres

James F Puerini, masters of forestry candidate, and Professor Gerald Torres have recently published an excellent op-ed focused on wildland firefighter’s access to healthcare. Please visit the link below to read their op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times. Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini Read more about Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini and Gerald Torres[…]

Rebirth after Fire — Zhi Li

Zhi Li, MFs 20′, spent his 2019 summer in California’s forests conducting research related to fire. This involved camping with a team in 8-night stints and taking vegetation measures day in and day out. Zhi’s hard work on this collaborative research has been condensed into a story map he created and is located here. Student Read more about Rebirth after Fire — Zhi Li[…]

Annual Report 2019 — Michelle Downey

Please find our 2019 annual report below. We are incredibly grateful for all the partnerships and collaborations that have allowed UHPSI to provide over 65 students with experiential learning opportunities during 2019. Thank you to our students, partners, and supporters! Full PDF 2019 Annual Report here.

Field Research in California’s Forest after Wildfire — Zhi Li

When I present my research to the F&ES community, all I will see is the flashback of this summer: a summer I spent in California with a Californian man who is like a tree and three women from Georgia, Sweden, and Boston respectively. It was a summer with heat and sweat, tons of hiking and Read more about Field Research in California’s Forest after Wildfire — Zhi Li[…]