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Forest Ecosystem Dynamics Lab Research

Quantifying the effects of silviculture treatments on forest resilience to spruce beetle epidemics in Colorado


Tree reaction to spruce beetle attack.


PI’s: Arjan Meddens (U. of Idaho), Seth Davis (CSU), Mike Battaglia (USFS)

Funding: USDA Forest Service, Western Wildlands Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC)


  1. Assess recovery of forest dynamics following insect outbreaks for different (a) forest treatment levels, (b) intervals between stand treatment and disturbance, and (c) stand structure and composition using Landsat and MODIS imagery.
  2. Assess the spatial and temporal patterns and deviations of recovery for these different forest areas.
  3. Develop a management tool (ResilienceTracker) for monitoring the resilience of high-elevation Engelmann spruce forest


To accomplish our goals, we will use:

  • Field observations
  • Multi-temporal remote sensing methods
  • Forest Vegetation Simulator Modeling


Papers (partly) sponsored by this project:

  • Janousek, W.M., Hicke, J.A., Meddens, A.J.H., & Dreitz, V.J. (2019). The effects of mountain pine beetle outbreaks on avian communities in lodgepole pine forests across the greater Rocky Mountain region. Forest Ecology and Management, 444, 374-381
  • Krawchuk, M.A., Meigs, G.W., Cartwright, J., Coop, J.D., Davis, R., Holz, A., Kolden, C., and Meddens, A.J.H. (2020). Disturbance refugia within mosaics of fire, drought, and insect outbreaks enable forest persistence in a changing climate. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Bright, B.C., Hudak, A.T, Egan, J.M., Jorgenson, C.L., Rex, F.E., Hicke, J.A., and Meddens, A.J.H. (2020). Using satellite imagery to evaluate bark-beetle-caused tree mortality from aerial surveys in a mixed conifer forest in northern Idaho, USA. Forests.
  • Bright, B.C., Hudak, A.T, Meddens, A.J.H., Egan, J.M., Jorgenson, C.L. (2020). Mapping multiple insect outbreaks across large regions using multitemporal Landsat data, Remote Sensing.
  • Hicke, J.A., Bingbing, X., and Meddens, A.J.H. (2020). Updating and harmonizing a time series of bark beetle-caused tree mortality in the western United States from aerial surveys. Forest Ecology and Management.
  • T.S. Davis, Meddens A.J.H., Stevens-Rumann C.S. Jansen V.J. and Battaglia M.A. (In revision). Tracking ecosystem change using objective functions: monitoring trajectories of ecosystem productivity following spruce beetle outbreak in treated and non-treated stands, Planned submission for Ecological Applications.

Google Earth Engine Tool for displaying the dNPPmax (resistance function) and aNPP (resilience function):