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Research Project: Trajectories of Change: How Climate, Wildfire, and Management Drive Shrubland Ecosystem Transitions

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 2060-21500-001-013-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2023
End Date: Feb 28, 2026

1) Identify vegetation transitions in sagebrush steppe using field data and remote sensing, 2) Determine the relative role of climate, wildfire, and treatment in causing transitions, and 3) Predict areas most at risk of shrubland transitions under projected climates and suggest possible adaptation strategies.

We will achieve this by conducting research using large field data sets paired with remote sensing, as well as developing state-and-transition models under current and future climate scenarios. Our research will be guided by an advisory board formed from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other stakeholders. Outreach activities will be facilitated with partners, such as SageSTEP and the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange. The BLM currently implements millions of acres of fuel reduction and seeding treatments with variable success. Our results will help managers make climate-informed decisions about appropriate treatments in current and future climates. This project will result in scientific presentations, publications, webinars, university and government course content, field tours, fact sheets, and training for a graduate student, post doc, and early career scientists.