Our newest member of NRC, Bethany Bradley, is sure getting off to a fast start! She and 3 collaborators from Northern Arizona University just landed a $1.5 million grant that runs from 2010-2013. The project is Funded by the Department of Defense, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and titled: Integrated spatial models of non-native plant invasion, fire risk, and wildlife habitat to support conservation of military lands in the arid Southwest.
The study looks at interactions between plant invasion and increases in fire frequency and magnitude in the Sonoran Desert. The individual and synergistic impacts of invasive plants, fire, and climate change on native habitat are likely to affect the endangered Sonoran pronghorn and other threatened, sensitive, or at-risk species in complex ways. The objective of this research is to integrate empirically-based models of non-native plant invasion, fire, and sensitive wildlife habitat in a spatially explicit decision-support package that informs sustainable resource management and recovery of native habitats and species in the face of ongoing climate change. The team will model distribution, biomass, invasion risk, and fire risk associated with the following problematic species: African buffelgrass, red brome, Sahara mustard, Mediterranean grass, and arugula on the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, and Kofa and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuges. Bethany will be responsible for all the climate risk modeling associated with the project and conducting her work as a member of our department.