Much of our work is couched in conservation of biodiversity and investigates the persistence of threatened species and ecosystems across landscapes. Trembling aspen is a valued species in the Rocky Mountains for its contribution to biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics, but has been documented to experience a general decline across the West  Our work on the northern Colorado Front Range showed that factors leading to aspen decline such as fire exclusion, grazing, and ungulate browsing are evident within very specific ecological contexts, but a decrease from the current amount of aspen area may still fall within the historic range of variability because many stands originated from human activities.

 

Our lab has many ongoing and potential projects examining forest species experiencing decline (or worse), including trembling and bigtooth aspen in northern Lower Michigan and Colorado (due to fire suppression, ungulate browsing, or age-related senescence), American chestnut in Indiana (due to chestnut blight), green, black, white, and blue ash in southern Michigan (due to emerald ash borer), American elm (due to Dutch elm disease), and American beech (due to beech bark disease) across the state of Michigan.

 

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