Jesse Morris, University of Utah
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.
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
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