A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells

May is here, bringing with it the end of a semester and the end of my time working as a UHPSI Research Assistant in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming’s Tensleep Preserve. Even as Wyoming has been re-blanketed in snow, every maple and oak tree in New Haven has spun out fresh fractals of green Read more about A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells[…]

Muddying the Water—Alex Wells

Let’s say that you live in northeast Nevada and ranch a stretch of sagebrush watered by a small cottonwood-lined creek. Or that you make your living from your senior water rights and an orderly orchard of fruit trees in western Colorado. Or that you grow alfalfa just north of the Gallatin Range in Montana, your Read more about Muddying the Water—Alex Wells[…]

A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts

Effective ecological monitoring is a critical component of managing ecosystems in a way that balances the needs of people and wildlife. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy – Wyoming (TNC) and the Water for Wildlife Foundation, UHPSI research assistant Alex Wells is developing a monitoring plan that will evaluate both beaver wellbeing and the impacts Read more about A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts[…]

Who Cares?—Sam Wilson

I was explaining my research to someone recently and the proceeding conversation got me thinking. When I described my project and where it was going to be conducted (see project description here) I got a response that I had yet to encounter. The woman I was speaking with asked me ‘who cares about sagebrush?’. At Read more about Who Cares?—Sam Wilson[…]

Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth

Restoration of natural gas well pads is plagued by invasion from annual forbs and grasses. Exotic annual forbs particularly are well suited to the sandy, salty, disturbed soils found on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of southwestern Wyoming. While conducting research this summer on well pads in the Upper Green Read more about Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth[…]

Global change effects on soil greenhouse gas exchange and carbon storage along a temperature gradient in the North American Central Grasslands

Most ecosystem and earth-system models predict soil organic carbon losses from temperate grasslands as temperatures increase. However, the magnitude of that loss is uncertain and the influence of other global change factors on the temperature sensitivity of decomposition remains poorly understood. Uthara’s research explores how historical temperature regimes interact with global change factors (i.e., warming, Read more about Global change effects on soil greenhouse gas exchange and carbon storage along a temperature gradient in the North American Central Grasslands[…]

Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory

Sam’s research focuses on gathering field data to pair with remotely sensed imagery to then model a physiological plant trait called radiation use efficiency. Radiation use efficiency is the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is converted to biomass. Decreases in efficiency of plants has been shown to correlate with stress and decreased production and Read more about Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory[…]

Changing Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Exploring Farmers’ Responses to Climate Change via Multispecies Ethnography

Across the Southwestern United States, the already pervasive effects of climate change foreshadow a stark future for farmers. While there is substantial quantitative research regarding the impacts of climate change on agriculture, there is minimal qualitative research to ground abstract statistics in the lived experiences of farmers. Julia’s master’s research aims to understand how farmers Read more about Changing Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Exploring Farmers’ Responses to Climate Change via Multispecies Ethnography[…]

Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming

The Jonah Field is a large natural gas field in southwestern Wyoming leased to energy operators by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The development of natural gas infrastructure is a large-scale disturbance on big sagebrush plant communities in this region. Reclamation is the mandated form of restoration meant to stabilize these disturbances after mineral Read more about Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming[…]

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[…]