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Montana Forest & Conservation Experiment Station Centers, Institutes, and Special Programs

The Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station is co-located with The University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation. MFCES pursues a wide variety of research and development efforts supported by many different partners. Broad-based research programs and excellent research faculty combine with unique research facilities to create an environment that fosters excellence in natural resource science.

MFCES is devoted to the scientific investigation of natural resources and their management. Its research and publications enhance public understanding of forestry and conservation, and contribute to the wise use of our nation’s forage, water, timber, wildlife, recreation, wilderness and amenity resources.

The Applied Forest Management Program

An applied research entity to develop and promote silvicultural management knowledge to the full spectrum of Montana’s 11,000 forest landowners.

The Bitterroot Ecosystem Management Research Project

The Bitterroot Ecosystem Management/Research Project is exploring and demonstrating ecosystem-based management in northern Rocky Mountain forests. The project focuses on the Bitterroot National Forest, a complex of grassland, forest, and alpine ecosystems in western Montana and northeastern Idaho.

Bolle Center for People and Forests

The Bolle Center provides interdisciplinary education, participatory research, and community
service to foster resilient and sustainable livelihoods, communities and forests in the U.S. intermountain west and internationally.

Boone and Crockett Wildlife Conservation Research Program

The Boone and Crockett Professor and Fellows in the Boone and Crockett Program of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana conduct research on wildlife management and conservation of big game related to anthropogenic alterations to their habitats. Our goal is to better understand how humans and big game can successfully coexist in altered landscapes. Ongoing studies examine alterations to habitat by desert and Rocky Mountain mule deer, effective techinques to introduce bison into historic landscapes, shifting use of landscapes by woodland caribou, and keys to successful translocation of the Mexican gray wolf. Studies are being conducted from Canada to Mexico.

Hazard Reduction/Ecosystem Restoration Study in Pine/Fir Forests – Montana

This interdisciplinary study, part of the Fire and Fire Surrogates national network, is designed to evaluate the effects of alternative hazard reduction treatments in fire-adapted forests. Knowledge gained from this long-term study is being used in conjunction with results from other network sites to develop local, regional, and national guidelines to assist managers in prioritizing areas for treatment, designing effective treatments, and predicting treatment outcomes.

Inland Northwest Growth and Yield Cooperative

INGY researches technical problems and concerns associated with the growth and yield of forests in the Inland Northwest through the support and cooperation of private industry, federal agencies, consulting firms, tribal forestry agencies, and other universities in the region.

Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research

ITRR provides research leadership and assistance to Montana’s tourism and recreation industry. ITRR’s research enables public and private segments of Montana’s tourism and recreation industry to plan, market, develop and manage tourism and recreation resources effectively.

The Montana Climate Office

The Montana Climate Office contributes to our collective understanding of the effects of climate and climate change on Montana; providing service to the people of Montana with special attention to the State's agriculture and natural resource sectors. Understanding climate and climate change can help ensure the viability of Montana's industries in the context of a global phenomena.

The National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis

NCLFA develops, integrates, and synthesizes remote sensing and other information technology applications to improve fire and fuels management at the landscape level.

Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG)

NTSG uses satellites, geographic information systems, computer simulation and visualization, and biophysical theory to develop new techniques for addressing regional ecological problems. NTSG projects examine all scales of ecological study from one-acre plots to the entire terrestrial biosphere and is a national leader in climate change study.


PRIMENet is a joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Park Service (NPS) program to assess the effects of environmental stressors on ecological systems nation wide. A system of 14 monitoring and research sites have been established in National Parks. This network of monitoring and research locations uses the park units as "outdoor laboratories," where environmental changes are monitored through time in relatively undisturbed sites.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator office is located on the University of Montana Campus. This office facilitates grizzly bear research between state and federal agencies as well as with universities. These research projects advance grizzly bear recovery as outlined in the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan.

Rocky Mountain Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit - (RM-CESU)

The Rocky Mountain CESU provides research, education and technical assistance through the partnership of eleven colleges/universities and eight Federal land management and research agencies. UM is the host with Colorado State University, University of Idaho, Montana State University, Salish Kootenai College, Utah State University, Washington State University, University of Wyoming, University of Colorado (Boulder and Denver), University of Calgary, USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDI BLM, NPS, BR, F&WS and USGS, and the Army Corps of Engineers as partners.

Wilderness Institute

The Wilderness Institute develops information for resource managers and citizens, conducts continuing and public education programs, helps develop the expertise wildland decision-making requires, and administers UM’s Wilderness and Civilization educational program.