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

Mountains are globally ubiquitous yet locally unique and are far more than just lands at high elevation. I will present a conceptual model, based on 18 mountain case studies worldwide, that identifies a suite of mountain-specific characteristics and persistent incongruities that require a new approach to understanding mountain sustainability.  Serving as an example of a tightly coupled social-ecological mountain system, I will present select results from an interdisciplinary study of herder and ecosystem vulnerability to climate warming, extreme weather events (‘snow disasters’) and grazing policy in central Tibet.  A multi-factor ecological experiment combined with landscape sampling reveals that yak grazing promotes the growth of Kobresia pygmaea, the dominant plant species and preferred forage, and promotes soil C storage and carbon uptake, while experimental warming leads to soil moisture stress, decreased K. pygmaea, and increased shrubs, thus decreasing forage quality and soil C storage.  Local knowledge of climate and ecological change supports the finding of a warming-induced delay in vegetative green-up in Tibet, a finding that has been subject to vigorous debate. On-going policies have shifted herders’ strategies for coping with ‘snow disasters’ from internal to external and increased their reliance upon the state.  Taken together, these findings suggest that: 1) Tibetan ecosystems are vulnerable to climate warming, with negative implications for livelihoods and ecosystem services; 2) current policies, such as grazing restrictions, are not the solution to rangeland degradation, and are negatively impacting herders and their ability to cope with climate change; and 3) local knowledge is key to adaptation and can help understand on-going ecosystem dynamics.  I will conclude my talk by discussing an on-going initiative to develop a global, transdisciplinary mountain network.


May 2

Jason Sibold

Dept. of Anthropology, CSU


May 9

Kristen Kaczynski


Response of riparian vegetation to fire in a heavily browsed environment


An archive of past seminar series can be viewed here.