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Working Groups

MtnSEON working groups are a diverse set of research groups with specific questions and goals. Their foci range from human conflicts with large carnivores in mountain valleys, to invasive plant species, to social ecological systems education and training. Scientists, managers, students, and stakeholders from the USA and abroad with interest in social ecological systems resilience and sustainability are invited to become involved in our ongoing, dynamic networking of people and research. 

LEAD:

Jesse Morris, University of Utah

DESCRIPTION:

During the last two decades, outbreaks of native bark beetles have killed millions of hectares of coniferous forest in western North America. Model predictions suggest that the geographic range of bark beetles will expand to higher latitudes and elevations during the 21st Century, driven by climate warming. Severe beetle disturbances change forest composition and structure, alter biogeochemical cycles, and modify landscape susceptibility to wildfire. The implications for social systems are considerable, which include losses of merchantable timber, changes in water quality and quantity, devaluation of real estate, declines in tourism revenues, and impaired landscape aesthetics. In western North America, beetle-impacted landscapes are mostly found on public lands and management efforts have focused on reducing forest vulnerability through selective harvest and application of insecticide treatments. The prevailing perspective of this outbreak is an event of the scale and severity is considered unprecedented. However, establishing the precedence of this outbreak requires longer-term data and currently no such records exist that provide context for land managers, stakeholders, and public policy makers. Despite these challenges, the visibility of the ongoing outbreak presents a crucial opportunity to advance our understanding of the social-ecological dynamics of bark beetle disturbances. The Bark Beetle working group aims to capitalize on this opportunity by identifying key knowledge gaps in our understanding of the social-environmental linkages of past, present, and future bark beetle disturbances.

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

Manuscripts

Morris JL, S Cottrell, CJ Fettig, JA Hicke, SJ Seybold, WD Hansen, VA Carter, JL Clear, JM Clement, S Cottrell, RJ DeRose, PE Higuera, K Mattor, AWR Seddon, H Seppӓ, R Sherriff, & J Stednick. (in progress). Bark beetle impacts on social-ecological systems: Priority questions to inspire future research. Invited manuscript for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Morris JL, RJ DeRose, & AR Brunelle. (2015). Long-term perspectives on landscape change from a subalpine forest in central Utah, USA. Forest Ecosystems 2: 1–12.

Morris JL, S Cottrell, K Mattor, W Hansen, A Seddon, H Seppӓ, & JL Clear (2015). Social-ecological dimensions of forest insect disturbances: Past, present, and future. Past Global Changes Newsletter 23: 4.

Czaja, M., Bright, A., & Cottrell, S.P. (2015).  Integrative complexity, beliefs, and attitudes: Application to prescribed fire. Journal of Forest Policy and Economics. 10.1016/j.forpol.2015.07.003

McGrady, P., Cottrell, S., Raadik Cottrell, J., Clement, J., & Czaja, M. (In Press). Local perceptions of mountain pine beetle infestation, forest management, and connection to national forests in Colorado and Wyoming. Human Ecology (),1-12 DOI 10.1007/s10745-015-9803-8  

Grant Proposals

Past Global Changes. Funded. Working Group Initiative: Linking tree-ring and lake sediment records. JL Clear, PI & RC Chiverrell, I Drobyshev, RJ DeRose, JL Morris, M Svoboda, co-PIs ($81,500) funded

Joint Fire Science Program. Assessing perspectives of forest resilience and ecological disturbances via stated choice modeling. S Cottrell, PI & K Mattor, JL Morris, Y Wei, co-PIs ($310,944) declined

National Science Foundation –DEB Panel. Collaborative Research: Ecosystem consequences of centennial- to millennial-scale variability in forest disturbance regimes in the U.S. Northern Rockies. PE Higuera, PI and J Abatzoglou, JA Hicke, T Hudiberg, & JL Morris, co-PIs ($710,529) declined

LEADS:

Susan Charnley, US Forest Service

Mary Rowland, US Forest Service

DESCRIPTION:

The Blue Mountains WG capitalizes on long-term ecological data available from the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, including the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, and socio-economic information about local, natural resource-based communities from ongoing and new research.  Our initial focus was to sponsor two workshops to bring together scientists and stakeholders to explore opportunities for landscape-scale research proposals using these long-term data sets from public and private lands in the Blue Mountains. Our goal is to address important, and integrated, ecological and socioeconomic issues relevant to the management of dry forests and rangelands in the Pacific Northwest. The WG seeks to provide new knowledge to aid in reducing vulnerability, fostering adaptation, improving resilience, and supporting the sustainability of natural and human systems within the complex mountain landscapes of the Blue Mountains and beyond.

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

Sponsored a local/Blue Mountains stakeholder workshop in La Grande, OR in January 2015

Sponsored a regional stakeholder/scientist workshop in Portland, OR in March 2015

Developed network of >40 scientists and stakeholders with interests in socioecological issues in the Blue Mountains Province

Created two sub-groups - ranching and ungulates - each now developing grant proposals and formulating more concrete research topics

Conducting ongoing research that focuses on how to promote the resilience of public lands grazing and ranching in the Blue Mountains

Conducting ongoing research on the social and economic feasibility of using beavers and artificial beaver dams as a watershed restoration and climate change adaptation strategy on rangelands in the Blue Mountains

Conducting ongoing research about hunter satisfaction, factors affecting hunter success, and hunter interactions with deer and elk in a controlled experiment at Starkey.

Will produce a case study documenting the social and economic issues associated with using beavers and artificial beaver dams as a watershed restoration and drought mitigation strategy on private ranchlands and public lands grazing allotments from two sites in the Blue Mountains

Submitted an NSF LTREB proposal to examine complex interactions among ungulates, carnivores, and humans in the Blue Mts. based on long-term data at the Starkey Experimental Forest & Range

LEAD:

Julia Haggerty, Montana State University

DESCRIPTION:

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:


LEAD:

Patrick Bourgeron, Colorado State University

DESCRIPTION:

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

LEAD:

Sandra Pinel, Antioch University New England

DESCRIPTION:

The Governance Working Group was formed at the first MtnSEON annual meeting in 2013, by Greg Greenwood, Sandra Pinel, and Mike Evans, to address the structure and process of how decisions are made and where science fits into this complex process among agencies, local and tribal governments, scientists, and other sources of knowledge and action. The group has grown internationally. Through the development of papers, conference sessions and a Belmont Forum Grant proposal, the group is applying a social ecological systems framework and engaged research methodology to the following two research questions: 1) How can scientific information support equitable and effective decision-making toward resilience? and 2) How are institutions developed at multiple scales to apply science and local and indigenous knowledge in decisions to address the persistent problems of scale and inequitable local capacity in complex peri-urban and rural regions? The project first synthesizes institutional analysis frameworks from legal studies, watershed governance, political economy, and regional planning and then applies the framework to draw lessons from comparing case studies of watershed governance in metropolitan and rural mountain landscapes.

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

Building upon the comments received from the June 2015 submitted comparative grant proposal to the Belmont Forum to submit two other proposals: one that is Latin American case study oriented to the Tinker Foundation, and one to the National Science Foundation, Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science Research (IBSS) building on the work of members in EPSCoR.

July 2016 Governance Roundtable accepted for the World Planning Schools Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where we will further develop collaborative research paper and funding plans as begun below and for the Belmont.

October 2015 participation and group growth at the Perth III: Mountains of Our Future Earth conference - 2 papers and transboundary governance roundtable as well as agendas forward from the transdisciplinary science sessions.

Developing the framework and comparative paper of peri-urban and rural mountain governance studies focused on regional institutional building. The concept also presented at the UN Man and the Biosphere 4th Congress in Lima, Peru, March 2016.

Proposal June 1, 2015 to Belmont Forum for $738,000, 3 years: Building Local and Regional Institutional Capacity to Govern Complex Mountain Landscapes -- Improving Governance Theory and Adaptive Management Practice in Mountain Systems (not funded but the base of current work). 

Roundtable at World Planning Schools Congress, July 2016: Overcoming Limits of Decentralization for Adaptive Governance: Comparisons of Regional Institution Building Across Rural to Urban and Rural Mountain Watersheds of the Americas, Authors: Sandra Pinel, Antioch University New England, USA; Pablo Torres Lima, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico; Fausto López, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador; Manuel Peralvo, CONSESAN, Ecuador; Paulo S. de Almeida, Universidad de Saõ Paulo, Brazil.

Paper presented, October 2016: Is “Local” Enough in Climate Change And Regional Institution Building From Three Landscapes of the Americas, Perth III: Mountains of Our Future Earth. Being developed as manuscript for World Development. Proposed for Frontiers.

Stakeholders in science: new models of knowledge production for climate change. Authors, Nicole L. Klenk, Katie Meehan, Sandra Lee Pinel, Fabian Mendez, Pablo Torres Lima, Daniel M. Kammen, Published in Science, November 13, 2015. 

LEAD:

Nicholas Norton, Palouse Land Trust

DESCRIPTION:

The Invasive Species working group is trying to establish more integrated, trans-disciplinary approaches to the research and management of invasive plant species in complex ecological and agricultural regions like the Intermountain West. Specifically, we are interested in how re-envisioning the process of plant invasions as a social-ecological system can reveal more relevant research directions and, ultimately, improve management strategies and outcomes.

LEAD:

Jeremy Bruskotter, Ohio State University

DESCRIPTION:

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

LEAD:

Shawn Devlin, Flathead Lake Biological Station

DESCRIPTION:

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

LEAD:

Brian Hand, Flathead Lake Biological Station

DESCRIPTION:

The Riverscapes working group aims to assess biophysical complexity, connectivity, and quality of riverine landscapes in the Columbia River Basin, from the headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, through examination of how the central theme of water quality and quantity weaves through social, economic and ecological controls and constraints (climate, governance, public perception, and economics).

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

Manuscript in progress

Proposal in progress

LEAD:

Samantha Brooks, Madison River Group LLC

DESCRIPTION:

The SESTEP working group was created to develop a working model, proposed curriculum, and proposal to US federal and private granting agencies to establish a Social Ecological Systems Training and Education Program (SESTEP) and graduate certificate. The idea for SESTEP grew out of the Mountain Research Education I [AZ1] planning workshop, hosted in May 2014 by the MtnSEON Leadership Team. There was a strong consensus expressed at that meeting for the development of a mechanism for training federal, tribal, state, and local government management professionals, as well as academic and NGO personnel, in the theory and practice of SES as applied to resource management issues. SESTEP aims to answer this call by creating a certificate-granting program that aims to build capacity among natural resource managers and professionals. SESTEP will utilize an adaptive and participatory training approach, so that inherent knowledge within the participant group will enhance learning capabilities (e.g., feedback loops) and help to improve SES tools available for natural resource management.

SESTEP is a training program for professionals who work with complicated natural resource management issues, such as multi-use forests, climate change, and water management. SESTEP aims to build capacity among managers, professionals, and graduate level students to address land and natural resource management. The SESTEP training is appropriate for all levels of managers, including federal, state, and local government management professionals, tribal land managers, town planners, academics, and NGO personnel. SESTEP participants will earn a professional certificate, with the option of 5 academic credits, through University of Montana in a self-paced, 6-week course. This training includes in-person, virtual, and field-based learning modules.

LEAD:

Melissa Weatherwax, Blackfeet Community College

DESCRIPTION:

PROJECTS/PRODUCTS:

Center for Resilient Communities

Mailing Address:
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2461
Moscow, Idaho
83844-2461

Phone: 208-885-4409

Fax: (208) 885-9428

Email: crc@uidaho.edu