Gila National Forest hosts ponderosa pine regeneration presentations

Public invited to join lunch and learn presentations from PhD student Kevin Willson


The Gila National Forest will host two “lunch and learn” events April 18 and 19, featuring Kevin Willson, who will discuss his research into ponderosa pine regeneration following high-severity fire. His study examines how wind, slope, and residual live trees affect recovery of ponderosa pine stands in fire scars.

Kevin Willson is a PhD student in the Hurteau Earth Systems Ecology Lab at the University of New Mexico. He is studying the effects of fire in ponderosa pine ecosystems. His research examines large, high severity burn patches on the Gila National Forest to explore how different factors influence ponderosa pine regeneration. He sampled multiple high severity burn patches in the Bonner, Divide, Glass, Shelly, and Torres fire footprints to better understand how prevailing wind direction, slope, and relative position of lives trees influence the density of forest regeneration. High severity patches exhibited greater regeneration density in areas positioned downwind and downslope of intact forest, as compared to locations in upwind or upslope positions. Accounting for wind, topography, and relative position of the live trees improved the accuracy of regeneration density estimates relative to using only distance from the unburned forest edge.

“This work highlights the effect of landscape features on restoration of forest cover after high severity fire and can help inform projections of future stand development in ponderosa pine ecosystems,” said Gila National Forest Supervisor, Camille Howes. “I am excited to host these presentations and learn more about this research.”

Kevin will present his highly relevant and timely research at noon on April 18, 2023, at the Gila National Forest Supervisor’s Office, located at 3005 E. Camino del Bosque in Silver City and at noon on April 19 at the Reserve District Office, located at 5 Smokey Bear Circle in Reserve. These in-person events are open to the public. Please provide your own lunch. For more information contact Maribeth Pecotte at 575-388-8211 or