About the Node Hosts: The Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) began in 1968 as a world leader in grassland research. Over three decades, the scope of research at NREL has expanded to include projects on every continent and topics ranging from the soil microbial dynamics associated with the grazing of bison to global-scale studies of climate change and its impact on the terrestrial carbon cycle. NREL scientists have been pioneers in linking ecosystem theory, experimentation, field measurements and computer modeling. In particular, NREL has emphasized the use of systems analysis and computer modeling to reduce ecosystem complexity to a manageable level. CENTURY, one of the first and most widely used ecosystem models in the world, was developed at NREL.

The USGS Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) has been a part of the United States Geological Survey since 1996. The FORT is deeply rooted in federal biological resource research and its supporting disciplines, particularly as they relate to the needs of the U.S. Department of the Interior and its resource management agencies. The organizational framework and activities of the FORT have changed and adapted over the years in response to shifts in the scientific issues and challenges facing the U.S. Department of the Interior and with the development of new strategies to meet these challenges.

History of the DEVELOP Node: The Colorado Node, one of the first nodes at an academic location, started in 2012 under the direction of Dr. Paul Evangelista and Dr. Catherine Jarnevich and is co-hosted by Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Lab (NREL) and the USGS Fort Collins Science Center. The node has completed a variety of natural resource management projects, including projects focused on invasive species, forest health, wetlands, ecological forecasting, fire severity and recovery, crop wild relatives, and water quality. In the past six years, node projects have been completed in 20 states and in Ethiopia. These projects have been with a wide range of partners including the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, National Park Service, United States Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, and other non-profits, and private land and ranch owners.

About the Node: Our node hosts roughly six projects and 24 participants each year. The node specializes in ecological forecasting, water resources, and agriculture projects. The co-principal investigators and Lead Science Advisors, Dr. Paul H. Evangelista, Dr. Catherine Jarnevich, and Dr. Anthony Vorster, hold a broad array of ecological research interests including invasive species, forest ecology, rare and endangered wildlife, ecosystem services, resource management, fire ecology, and climate change. Their interests are frequently examined in the context of space and time through a suite of integrative spatial modeling techniques that combine field data, traditional and expert knowledge, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and spatial statistics.