Mountain Pine Beetle Response

Title: Forest Governance and Climate Change in Driving Native Insect Outbreaks

PI: Cassandra Moseley, Director-Ecosystem Workforce Program, Research Professor-Institute for a Sustainable Environment, and Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Oregon

Project Researchers: 

Heidi Huber-Stearns, Assistant Research Professor, Associate Director-Ecosystem Workforce Program and Director-Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of Oregon

Michael France Nelson, Postdoctoral Scholar, Ecosystem Workforce Program, University of Oregon

Jesse Abrams, Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Sustainability, University of Georgia

Chris Bone, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Victoria

Mark Altaweel, Reader in Near East Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College of London

Michelle Steen-Adams, Affiliate Forest Social Scientist, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station

Emily Jane Davis, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Oregon State University and Associate Director and OSU Lead-Ecosystem Workforce Program



This is a National Science Foundation-funded research project studying drivers, governance responses, and social-ecological feedbacks associated with Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks on national forestlands in the western U.S. The project includes case studies of national forests and surrounding landscapes affected by Mountain Pine Beetle outbreaks as well as construction of an agent-based model that integrates forest conditions, climatic variables, and management decision-making. The case studies of national forests and surrounding communities come from Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. The project has the goal of better understanding the ways that social and ecological variables interact in complex ways to both affect forest conditions (and therefore Mountain Pine Beetle susceptibility) and socio-political responses that take the form of formal or informal changes to forest governance and management practices.


Management Responses to Mountain Pine Beetle Infestations on National Forestland in the Western U.S. 


Project publications:

Scientific manuscripts

Steen-Adams, M.M., Abrams, J.B., Huber-Stearns, H.R., Moseley, C., Bone, C. 2020. Local-level transitions toward network governance within the U.S. Forest Service: A case study of mountain pine beetle epidemic from Colorado, USA, Forest Policy and Economics, 118:102204,

Gandhi, K. J., Campbell, F., & Abrams, J. (2019). Current Status of Forest Health Policy in the United States. Insects, 10(4), 106.

Altaweel, M., Bone, C., & Abrams, J. (2019). Documents as data: A content analysis and topic modeling approach for analyzing responses to ecological disturbances. Ecological Informatics, 51, 82-95.

Abrams, J., Huber-Stearns, H., Palmerin, M. L., Bone, C., Nelson, M. F., Bixler, R. P., & Moseley, C. (2018). Does policy respond to environmental change events? An analysis of Mountain Pine Beetle outbreaks in the Western United States. Environmental Science & Policy, 90, 102-109.

Nelson, M. F., Murphy, J. T., Bone, C., & Altaweel, M. (2018). Cyclic epidemics, population crashes, and irregular eruptions in simulated populations of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae. Ecological Complexity, 36, 218-229.

Abrams, J. B.; Huber-Stearns, H. R., Bone, C.; Grummon, C. A.; & Moseley, C. (2017). Adaptation to a landscape-scale mountain pine beetle epidemic in the era of networked governance: The enduring importance of bureaucratic institutions. Ecology and Society, 22(4), 22.

Nelson, M. F., Ciochina, M., & Bone, C. (2016). Assessing spatiotemporal relationships between wildfire and mountain pine beetle disturbances across multiple time lags. Ecosphere, 7(10), e01482. http://

Bone, C., Moseley, C., Vinyeta, K., & Bixler, R. P. (2016). Employing resilience in the United States Forest Service. Land Use Policy, 52, 430-438.


Policy and practitioner publications

Briefing Paper: Strategies for Addressing Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks on National Forests

Working Paper: Regional Approaches to Addressing the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak on US Forest Service Lands