Contact Us


Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences

College of Natural Resources

phone: (208) 885-7952
fax: (208) 885-6564

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1133
Moscow, ID 83844-1133
Philip Higuera

Philip Higuera

Office: CNR 204B; Lab: McClure Hall 408
Phone: (208) 885-6024
Email: phiguera@uidaho.edu
Mailing Address: Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1133
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1133

College of Natural Resources
Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences
Assistant Professor

Campus Locations: Moscow
With UI Since 2009

  • Research/Focus Areas
    • Forest and Fire Ecology
    • Paleoecology
    • Climate-vegetation-fire interactions
    • Environmental Change
  • Biography

    My schedule and availability:



    My research focuses broadly on understanding how climate, vegetation, and human activities influence and interact with fire occurrence and fire regimes over a range of time scales, from years to millenia. How will ecosystems respond to ongoing and future environmental change? Studying and understanding how systems have changed in the past is a key component to answering these and similar questions at the heart of environmental science, global change science, and sustainable resource management.

    I currently direct the Paleoecology and Fire Ecology Lab, where graduate students, undergraduate students, and I are pursuing research in the US Rocky Mountains, Alaska, and abroad in Tasmania, Australia. This work calls on spatially-explicit modeling and quantitative analyses, charcoal and pollen analysis in lake-sediment records, and dendrochronology. Learn more about ongoing research, opportunities to get involved, and meet lab members on the lab website, linked to above.


    At the undergraduate level, I teach two core courses in the Fire Ecology and Management undergraduate degree program: Fire Ecology and Management (FOR 326, Fall), and Fire Behavior (FOR 450, Spring). These two courses focus on understanding fire as an ecological process and understanding the biological and physical controls of fire behavior and fire regimes, respectively. Both courses emphasize learning and participating in the scientific process. You can connect to the course web sites using the links to the right.

    At the graduate I have taught several special topics courses:
    • Fall 2013: FOR 504-02 — "Altered Ecologies: multiscale perspectives on the past, present, and future." Link to class website.
    • Fall 2012: FOR 504-01 — "Beyond Excel: Computational Data Analysis and Visualization." Link to class website.
    • Fall of 2011: FOR 504-01 — "Global Fire and Ecological Feedbacks in the Context of Climate and Land-use Change." Link to class website.
  • Selected Publications
    *Visit the PaleoEcology and Fire Ecology Lab website for a complete list of publications and citation metrics.
      Selected publications: 

      Higuera, P.E., C.E. Briles, and C. Whitlock. 2014. Fire-regime complacency and sensitivity to centennial- through millennial-scale climate change in Rocky Mountain subalpine forests, Colorado, U.S.A. Journal of Ecology. 6: 1429-1441. 

      Dunnette P.V., P.E. Higuera, K.K. McLauchlan, K.M. Derr, C.E. Briles, M.H. Keefe. 2014. Biogeochemical impacts of wildfires over four millennia in a Rocky Mountain subalpine watershed. New Phytologist . 203: 900-912   
      Selected media coverage: Physics.org, Northwest Public Radio. [Press Release at New Phytologist]

      McLauchlan, K., P.E. Higuera, D.G. Gavin, S.S. Perakis, M.C. Mack, H. Alexander, J. Battles, F. Biondi, B. Buma, D. Colombaroli, S. Enders, D.R. Engstrom, F.S. Hu, J.R. Marlon, J.D. Marshal, M. McGlone, J.L. Morris, L.E. Nave, B. N. Shuman, E.A.H. Smithwick, D.H. Urrego, D.A. Wardel, C.J. Williams, and J.J. Williams. 2014. Reconstructing disturbances and their biogeochemical consequences over multiple timescales. BioScience. 64: 105-116. [PDF]

      Kelly, R. F., M.L. Chipman, P.E. Higuera, V. Stefanova, L.B. Brubaker, and F.S. Hu. 2013. Recent burning of boreal forests exceeds variability of the past 10,000 years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110: 13055-13060 [PDF]
      Selected popular media coverage: Scientific America, LA Times, NSF Science 360, Fairbanks Daily News Miner, CBC Radio.

      Higuera, P.E., Chipman, M.L., Barnes, J.L., Urban, M.A., and F.S. Hu. 2011. Variability of tundra fire regimes in Arctic Alaska: millennial scale patterns and ecological implications. Ecological Applications, 21: 3211-3226. [PDF]

      Hu, F.S., P.E. Higuera, J.E. Walsh, W.L. Chapman, P.A. Duffy, L.B. Brubaker, and M.L. Chipman. 2010. Tundra burning in Alaska: linkages to climatic change and sea-ice retreat. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 115, G04002, doi:10.1028/2009JG001270. [PDF]
      Selected popular media coverage: Science Daily, Discovery News
  • Research Projects

    Sponsor / Project Years Locations Title
    NSF logoPalEON logo
    Alaskan boreal forests

    PalEON - A PaleoEcological Observatory Network to Assess Terrestrial Ecosystem Models. Co-PI, funded through the National Science Foundation MacroSystems Biology Program.

     NSF logoNOVUS logo
    2012-2017 Coordination network, global scope The NOVUS project for integrating Paleo- and Neo-ecology.  Co-PI, funded through the National Science Foundation's Research Coordination Network Program.

    NSF logoWildFIRE PIRE logo

    2010-2015 U.S. Rocky Mountains, Tasmania Australia, New Zealand WildFIRE PIRE Feedbacks and consequences of altered fire regimes in the face of climate and land-use change in Australia, New Zealand, and the western U.S. Co-PI, funded through the National Science Foundation's Program for International Research and Education.
    NSF logo 2010-2014 Alaskan and Canadian Arctic Integrating paleoecological analysis and ecological modeling to elucidate the responses of tundra fire regimes to climate change. Co-PI, funded through the National Science Foundation's Arctic System Science Program.

  • Awards and Honors
    • 2012: Outstanding Research Award, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho