Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

NREL Spring 2014 Seminar Series

"Sustaining Mountain Ecosystems and Societies in the Face of Global Change"


Seminars will be held every Friday, unless otherwise noted
11:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
Third Floor Conference Rooms - A302-304
Natural and Environmental Sciences Building





Seminar Title

Jan 24




Jan 31

Dave Swift and Kate Wilkins


PERU: A discussion of developing research on agropastoral livelihoods, wetlands and glacial retreat in the Cordillera Blanca 

Feb 7

Chuck Rhoades, Rob Hubbard and Kelly Elder

Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA FS

Responses to mountain pine beetle in subalpine watersheds - Changes in stream nutrients and forest condition the decade after infestation

Feb 14

Katie Renwick


Species on the move: Using elevation gradients to study climate-driven range shifts

Feb 21

Steve Leisz

Dept. of Anthropology, CSU

Farming Systems' Transitions in Vietnam's Northern Mountains 

Feb 28

Kate Schoenecker


Elk, Bison, Bighorns and Feral Horses: Ungulate research supporting Rocky Mountain ecosystems

Mar 7

Melinda Laituri


SNOWY: Strategic Needs of Water on the Yukon

Mar 14

Kristen Pelz


Forest Development and Management Following Overstory Mortality from Mountain Pine Beetle

Mar 21


No Seminar - Spring Break 

Mar 28

Brian Fauver1 and Greg Newman2


Bridging mountain ecological research and local communities: A case study using American pika citizen science

Apr 4

Stephanie Kampf


Mountain hydrogeography: Hydrologic patterns, processes, and change in the Rocky Mountains

Apr 11




Apr 18




Apr 25

Julia Klein


Mountains as Iconic Sentinels of Global Change: A Global Mountain Synthesis and a Case Study from the Tibetan Plateau 

May 2

Jason Sibold

Dept. of Anthropology, CSU

Forest Disturbance Ecology in an Era of Changing Climate

May 9

Kristen Kaczynski


Response of riparian vegetation to fire in a heavily browsed environment


We studied the short term response of riparian vegetation to fire in Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park. We addressed three questions: 1) Does fire differentially affect the survival of alder, willow and river birch; 2) what is the effect of herbivory on post fire willow resprouts, and 3) what are the effects of fire on willow seed dispersal? Vegetation and seed density was monitored the first season post-fire. We mapped canopy death of stems and basal resprouting of 4507 three species that dominate the woody canopy of a montane riparian area, alder, birch and willow. To examine the effect of herbivory on willow resprouts, we established a paired experiment with 22 willows exclosed in cages to prevent browsing and 22 control willows. Aerial seed rain traps were established on transects throughout the valley and density was compared with pre-fire densities. 

Fire effects on Salix spp. were severe, with 91% of individuals having complete canopy loss. Fifty one percent of Alnus incana individuals and 71% of Betula fontinalis individuals had complete canopy loss. Resprouting was common, with 74% of B. fontinalis, 45% of Salix spp. and 35% of A. incana resprouting from the base. Willows inside exclosures had greater biomass at the end of the growing season compared with willows outside exclosures.  Summer browsing resulted in significantly lower biomass compared with exclosed plants and the interaction of summer and winter browsing resulted in control plants exhibiting 47% less biomass than exclosed plants. Aerial seed rain post-fire was very low throughout the valley and was greater than 90% lower when compared with pre-fire densities.

Fire dramatically altered the riparian vegetation of the study area. Willow seed rain was nearly eliminated and while resprouting woody riparian vegetation was prevalent, ungulate browsing of the resprouting stems could alter the long term persistence of willow, in addition to alder and birch.


An archive of past seminar series can be viewed here.