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Variation is a fundamental characteristic of natural systems, from vegetation assemblages to wildlife communities. Today’s resource professionals and researchers need efficient methods for describing and interpreting patterns of variability in a broad array of ecosystem attributes. Faculty and students in this area focus on the development and application of statistical and analytical methods for assessing the status and trajectory of terrestrial ecosystems across a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Faculty

Affleck, David - Professor of Biometrics & Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative

Dobrowski, Solomon - Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Lukacs, Paul M. - Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies

Climate change research is rapidly emerging as a focus of interest among natural resource professionals.  Understanding climate change involves investigating the ecological, social, and political aspects of global warming. CFC Faculty and student research in this area examines how different ecosystems and human communities are responding to climate change, and how to create effective policies and restoration projects to address climate change.

Faculty

Affleck, David - Professor of Biometrics & Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative

Ballantyne, Ashley - Associate Professor of Bioclimatology

Cleveland, Cory - Professor, Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Dobrowski, Solomon - Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Hebblewhite, Mark - Professor of Ungulate Habitat Ecology

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Seielstad, Carl - Associate Professor; Fire/Fuels Program Manager, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Community based engagement in conservation and natural resource management ranges from place-based collaboration and co-management of protected areas to community forestry and emerging institutions such as community-owned forests. CFC faculty and students working in this area seek to understand, facilitate, and evaluate these types of conservation efforts.

Faculty

Bosak, Keith - Professor of Nature Based Tourism and Recreation

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Metcalf, Alexander L. - Associate Professor

Metcalf, Elizabeth Covelli - Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs; Joel Meier Distinguished Professor of Wildland Management

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Wildfire poses one of the great challenges of the 21st century in the West with growing impacts on economic, environmental, and human health. Our graduate students work closely with faculty to understand these impacts and to develop forward-looking solutions that consider the complexities of fire ecology, fuel treatments, climate change, policy and human behavior, economics and risk. The Northern Rocky Mountains are an unparalleled laboratory to learn about the role of fire on the land, to develop and apply new tools and technology, and to acquire the skills and experience needed to become leaders in fire science and management.

Faculty

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Higuera, Philip - Professor of Fire Ecology

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Kolb, Peter - Associate Professor of Forest Ecology & Management

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Nelson, Cara - Professor of Restoration Ecology; Chair, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

Queen, LLoyd Paul - Professor of Remote Sensing; Director, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

Seielstad, Carl - Associate Professor; Fire/Fuels Program Manager, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Graduate students in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology are trained to link knowledge of population and community ecology to current issues in fish and aquatic conservation and management. Many students take a multi-disciplinary approach interfacing among the traditional fields of aquatic and population ecology, population genetics, watershed science, and natural resource management. The scope of aquatic systems ranges from watersheds, rivers and lakes, to estuarine and biotic communities therein.

Faculty

Eby, Lisa - Professor of Aquatic Ecology; Undergraduate Program Director, Ecosystem Science & Restoration

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Whiteley, Andrew - Associate Professor of Fisheries & Conservation Genomics

The forests of the northern Rockies are an ideal laboratory to learn ecological principles. We span the sensitive grassland-forest and temperate-boreal forest ecotones, and a diverse geological backdrop which provides an ideal system to test relationships between belowground processes and forest ecosystem function. Using a suite of analytical approaches, forest ecology and soils research in our College seeks to understand how forest biodiversity, structure and function respond to historical disturbances and management practices and how contemporary stressors such as climate change, exotic species invasions, changes in nutrient availability, and changes in fire regimes may affect forests across a broad range of spatial scales. Our natural laboratory also extends to tropical and to temperate forests worldwide, allowing us to test the generality of the ecological patterns and phenomena that we observe.

Faculty

Ballantyne, Ashley - Associate Professor of Bioclimatology

Cleveland, Cory - Professor, Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Dobrowski, Solomon - Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology

Goodburn, John - Associate Professor of Silviculture

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Kolb, Peter - Associate Professor of Forest Ecology & Management

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Nelson, Cara - Professor of Restoration Ecology; Chair, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

CFC has emphasized various aspects of bark beetle ecology and management, including investigations into the interactions of bark beetles with fire and interactions among an exotic pathogen (white pine blister rust) and a native insect (the mountain pine beetle in high elevation whitebark pine ecosystems and effects of climate change on beetle-fungus symbioses.

Faculty

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

Our forest management research focuses on developing innovative science, silvicultural strategies, and decision support tools to address challenges facing sustainable land management in the Northern Rockies and beyond. Our research examines regeneration, growth and competition relationships, fuel dynamics and fire hazard reduction, economics, roads and harvesting systems, as well as developing novel geospatial technologies and sampling strategies.

Faculty

Affleck, David - Professor of Biometrics & Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative

Cleveland, Cory - Professor, Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Goodburn, John - Associate Professor of Silviculture

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Kolb, Peter - Associate Professor of Forest Ecology & Management

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Nelson, Cara - Professor of Restoration Ecology; Chair, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

Research and graduate education in Forest Operations provides students with opportunities to study and understand practical forest management activities and their financial, environmental and socio-economic effects. Research areas include timber harvesting and management operations, forest roads and transportation, forest restoration, biomass utilization, forest planning and decision sciences, and GIS and remote sensing applications in forestry.

Faculty

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Graduate studies in Wood Science and Forest Products Technology at the University of Montana are focused on the determination of fundamental properties of solid wood and composites as well as the development of new products, processes and applications for wood-based materials. Projects as diverse as investigating the effects of early-stage decay on the bending properties of structural timbers, the ultrastructural characteristics of wood-plate furniture joints and the effect of double-threaded screw fasteners on vertical settlement in log walls. The Wood Science Laboratory is an International Accreditation Service-accredited laboratory where industrial clients bring their products for research, development and qualification testing. Students have the opportunity to combine fundamental research with practical application scenarios in a rigorous, ISO-compliant setting. Students from several countries have taken advantage of the University’s location in the heart of the region’s wood products industry, to make the most of their graduate education in this demanding field.

Faculty

Burke, Edwin - Professor of Wood Science & Technology

Geography is a big-tent discipline that contains many sub-disciplines and areas of focus. In the FCFC, faculty generally focus on parks and tourism, mountain environments and communities, rural communities, socio-demographics, physical geography, GIS and remote sensing, water resources and natural resources management, and community and environmental planning.

Faculty

Bosak, Keith - Professor of Nature Based Tourism and Recreation

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Klene, Anna - Professor of Geography

The CFC has a dozen faculty and 25 graduate students involved in the application of these technologies to natural resource problems. Particular areas of expertise are fire sciences, hydrology, forest operations, ecosystem modeling and landscape dynamics related to climate change. The CFC boasts state of the science facilities and maintains close working partnerships with local, state, national and international organizations such as NASA and the USDA Forest Service.

Faculty

Affleck, David - Professor of Biometrics & Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative

Dobrowski, Solomon - Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

McManigal, Kevin - Lecturer, Geographic Information Systems

Metcalf, Alexander L. - Associate Professor

Queen, LLoyd Paul - Professor of Remote Sensing; Director, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

Rice, William - Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management

Seielstad, Carl - Associate Professor; Fire/Fuels Program Manager, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

ICD option allows graduate students to pursue integrated ecological and social studies of international conservation and development, and to apply that knowledge through international field work. ICD studies involves completion of an core curriculum (12 credits), additional coursework in a specific area of academic and professional interest, and completion of an international assignment with the Peace Corps or an international organization.

Faculty

Bosak, Keith - Professor of Nature Based Tourism and Recreation

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Students in our program can explore political conflict associated with natural resource issues.  CFC faculty research interests include public lands governance, wildlife policy, science policy, and contemporary strategies and tools for conservation policy. In addition to coursework on topics such as federal lands, resource management, property ownership, and wildlife policy, students can also pursue a special certificate in natural resource conflict resolution.

Faculty

Metcalf, Alexander L. - Associate Professor

Nie, Martin - Professor, Natural Resource Policy; Director, Bolle Center for People & Forests

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Our focus is on wildland recreation and nature-based tourism. Past CFC research projects range from studying visitor experiences in Yellowstone National Park, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area to transportation planning for Glacier National Park to the use of self-guided GPS multi-media technology at Cedar Breaks National Monument to the ITRR studies of nature-based tourism in Montana.

Faculty

Bosak, Keith - Professor of Nature Based Tourism and Recreation

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Metcalf, Elizabeth Covelli - Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs; Joel Meier Distinguished Professor of Wildland Management

Rice, William - Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Ecological restoration is one of the most rapidly growing field of research and employment in natural resources. CFC faculty represent a diverse array of interests in this area ranging from the effects of disturbance on ecological processes in forests and watersheds to the efficacy of management activities for restorating ecological integrity and wildlife habitat connectivity in degraded landscapes.

Faculty

Cleveland, Cory - Professor, Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Dodson, Beth - Professor of Forest Operations

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Kolb, Peter - Associate Professor of Forest Ecology & Management

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Metcalf, Alexander L. - Associate Professor

Nelson, Cara - Professor of Restoration Ecology; Chair, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

Six, Diana - Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology

CFC Social science faculty bring a broad array of disciplinary backgrounds to the study of natural resource issues including economics, geography, political science, sociology, and environmental and social psychology. This provides students access to a diverse set of analytic tools and approaches for examining human-environment relations. Past projects in this area includes research on the role of planning in rural communities; how landowner views and practices affect conservation, public trust in managing agencies; and public perceptions of wildlife, fire, and environmental change.

Faculty

Bosak, Keith - Professor of Nature Based Tourism and Recreation

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Metcalf, Alexander L. - Associate Professor

Metcalf, Elizabeth Covelli - Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs; Joel Meier Distinguished Professor of Wildland Management

Nie, Martin - Professor, Natural Resource Policy; Director, Bolle Center for People & Forests

Rice, William - Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation

Hydrology is concerned with the origin, distribution and movement of surface and subsurface waters. Forest and wildland hydrology are sub-disciplines of hydrology that assess and deal with the cumulative effects of land management on water quantity and quality. Watershed management employs preventative strategies to guide sustainable development of natural resources in order to produce desired goods and services without adverse impacts to land and water resources.

Faculty

Chaffin, Brian - Associate Professor of Water Policy & Governance

Jencso, Kelsey - Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Montana State Climatologist

Research in protected area management examines the role of parks, wilderness, and other protected lands in the U.S. and abroad. Past CFC projects have examined community relationships with protected areas, institutional arrangements and policy frameworks, visitor experience and tourism, resource use and ecosystem restoration, and political conflict.

Faculty

Halvorson, Sarah - Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Larson, Andrew - Professor of Forest Ecology; Wilderness Institute Director

Metcalf, Elizabeth Covelli - Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs; Joel Meier Distinguished Professor of Wildland Management

Rice, William - Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management

Thomsen, Jennifer - Program Director, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management

Yung, Laurie - Professor of Natural Resource Social Science; Chair, Department of Society & Conservation