Travis Belote, Ph.D.

Author Contact

Lead Ecologist

Phone: 

406-586-1600 x 110

Travis Belote has served as a research ecologist in the Northern Rockies Office of The Wilderness Society in Bozeman, MT since 2009. His research focuses on understanding the basic science of ecosystems to inform conservation and restoration under increasing pressures of global change (including land use, climate change, increasing CO2, invasive species, etc.). He has studied the effects of climate change on invasive species, the impacts of alternative timber harvesting disturbances on forest resilience, ecological thresholds in rangelands, and local and regional drivers of biodiversity, species composition, and ecosystem functions. In recent years, his work has focused on relationships between forest composition, structure, and function from stand to landscape scales with an emphasis on understanding fire regimes to apply to forest restoration and climate adaptation projects. His research has appeared in Ecology, Ecological Applications, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, among other journals. He completed his M.S. at the University of Tennessee, Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, and conducted postdoctoral research with the USGS in Flagstaff, AZ. 

 

Current Research Themes


Fire regimes and biodiversity of the Northern Rockies

I am interested in the ecology of fire as it relates to the influence and maintenance of biodiversity in various forms from local and regional species diversity, structural heterogeneity, and landscape composition. With collaborators at the University of Montana (Dr. Andrew Larson), I have been studying the effects of mixed severity fire on western larch forest composition and structure in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. With collaborators at Montana State University (Dr. Laura Burkle), I am studying the influence of fire on “beta diversity” (among site differences in species composition) and pollinator networks across a productivity gradient in the Northern Rockies. Understanding fire's role in governing landscape composition and function is critical for conservation of ecosystems of the Northern Rockies.

Publications and presentations

Larson, A.J., R.T. Belote, C.A. Cansler, S.A. Parks, and M.S. Dietz. In review. Latent resilience in ponderosa pine forests: effects of a resumed frequent fire. Ecological Applications XX: xxx-xxx

Belote, R.T., A.J. Larson, C.A. Cansler*, and M.S. Dietz. 2012. Wilderness as a reference for restoration: can burned western larch forests in the Bob Marshall Wilderness serve as models for cross-scale restoration targets in mixed-severity fire regimes? 5th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress, Portland, OR, December 2012.

Belote, R.T., C.A. Cansler*, M. Crist, and G.H. Aplet. 2012. Mixed severity fire: Conceptual and empirical overview of ecology and case studies of restoration challenges. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2012

Larson, A.J., R.T. Belote, L. Brett, C.A Cansler, C.R. Davis, and M.S. Dietz. 2011. Fire effects on forest composition, structure and carbon stocks of western larch (Larix occidentalis) forests in the Bob Marshall Wilderness: contemporary benchmarks for forest restoration. 4th Annual Research Symposium, Montana Chapter – Society of Conservation Biology, Missoula, MT, November 2011.

 

Collaborative forest restoration and active adaptive management

Since 2009 I have been involved with the southwestern Crown of the Continent Collaborative, one of the ten original Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program landscapes. We have been developing adaptive management frameworks for restoration in forests historically characterized by a mixed severity fire regime – one that uses experimental approaches to projects to facilitate a robust monitoring program while honoring diverse perspectives represented in the collaborative.

 

Publications and presentations

Larson, A.J., R.T. Belote, M. Williamson, and G.H. Aplet. Submitted. Making monitoring count: project design for active adaptive management. Journal of Forestry XX: xxx-xxx

Hutto, R.L. and R.T. Belote. 2013. Four types of questions that monitoring can address. Forest Ecology and Management 289: 183-189

Davis, C.R. and R.T. Belote. 2012. Multi-party monitoring of forest treatments to inform adaptive management: does collaborative approach work? 5th Annual Research Symposium, Montana Chapter – Society of Conservation Biology, Bozeman, MT, November 2012.

Belote, R.T. and G.H. Aplet. 2012. Collaborative adaptive management: experimental design facilitates learning by testing alternative approaches. Southwest Fire Ecology Conference Annual meeting. March 2012.

Aplet, G.H., R.T. Belote, and M.A. Williamson. 2011. Integrating multi-scaled monitoring into a robust adaptive management program. 11th Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau, Flagstaff, AZ, October 2011

LaPlant, D.*, R.T. Belote, and C.R. Nelson. 2012. Lifespans of fuel-reduction projects in forests of the Crown of the Continent, Montana: How long can we expect today’s investments to be effective at reducing fire risk? 5th Annual Research Symposium, Montana Chapter – Society of Conservation Biology, Bozeman, MT, November 2012.

 

Global change, biodiversity, and conservation

Understanding the effects of “global change” (climate change, invasive species, changing land use, etc.) on biodiversity and ecosystem functions forms the core of much of my work applying basic ecological understanding to conservation challenges. I have worked on questions related to how climate change influences invasive species, the impacts of timber harvests in Appalachian hardwood forests, and identifying ecological thresholds in rangeland management of semi-arid grasslands of the Colorado PLateau. Recently, I have been focused on understanding possible impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem function, as it relates to landscape conservation in the Northern Rockies using existing models of ecosystem dynamics and species distributions.

Publications and presentations

Belote, R.T. 2012. Biodiversity, productivity, and landscape conservation in Montana: the distribution of protected areas and harvested forests reveal preferences for resources use and wildland preservation. 5th Annual Research Symposium, Montana Chapter – Society of Conservation Biology, Bozeman, MT, November 2012.

Belote, R.T., R.H. Jones, and T.F. Wieboldt. 2012. Compositional stability and diversity of vascular plant communities following logging disturbance in Appalachian forests. Ecological Applications 22: 502-516.

Miller, M.E., R.T. Belote, M.A. Bowker, and S.L. Garman. 2011. Alternative states of a semiarid grassland ecosystem: implications for ecosystem services. Ecosphere 2(5):art55 doi:10.1890/ES11-00027.1

Belote, R.T., S.P. Prisley, R.H. Jones, M. Fitzpatrick, and K. de Beurs. 2011. Forest productivity and tree diversity relationships depend on ecological context within mid-Atlantic and Appalachian forests. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 1315-1324.

Belote, R.T., L.J. Makarick, M.J. Kearsley, and C.L. Lauver. 2010. Tamarisk removal in Grand Canyon National Park: Changing the native-exotic relationship as a restoration goal. Ecological Restoration 28: 449-459.

Souza, L., R.T. Belote, P. Kardol,  J.F. Weltzin, and R.J. Norby. 2010. CO2 enrichment accelerates successional development of an understory plant community. Journal of Plant Ecology 3: 33-39.

Belote, R.T., J.F. Weltzin, and R.J. Norby. 2004. Response of an understory plant community to elevated [CO2] depends on differential responses of dominant invasive species and is mediated by soil water availability. New Phytologist 161: 827-835. 

Sanders, N.J., R.T. Belote, and J.F. Weltzin. 2004. Multi-trophic effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on understory plant and arthropod communities. Environmental Entomology 33: 1609-1616.

Weltzin, J.F., R.T. Belote, N.J. Sanders. 2003. Biological invaders in a greenhouse world: will elevated CO2 fuel plant invasions? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:146-153.

 

Recent Blogs Written For General Audience


Fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness 

To intervene or not to intervene: this is a real question (blog on The EEB and Flow)

The conception of wild ideas: scientists confront conservation challenges of our times (essay published in The Appalachian Voice)

 

All Peer Reviewed Publications


Larson, A.J., R.T. Belote, M. Williamson, and G.H. Aplet. Submitted. Making monitoring count: project design for active adaptive management. Journal of Forestry XX: xxx-xxx

Larson, A.J., R.T. Belote, C.A. Cansler, S.A. Parks, and M.S. Dietz. In review. Latent resilience in ponderosa pine forests: effects of a resumed frequent fire. Ecological Applications XX: xxx-xxx

Copenheaver, C.A., R.T. Belote, J. Peterson, and L. Grinter. In press. A dendroclimatic assessment of habitat specificity: Use of a functional trait to classify white oak. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society XX: xxx-xxx

Hutto, R.L. and R.T. Belote. 2013. Four types of questions that monitoring can address. Forest Ecology and Management 289: 183-189

Belote, R.T., R.H. Jones, and T.F. Wieboldt. 2012. Compositional stability and diversity of vascular plant communities following logging disturbance in Appalachian forests. Ecological Applications 22: 502-516.

Miller, M.E., R.T. Belote, M.A. Bowker, and S.L. Garman. 2011. Alternative states of a semiarid grassland ecosystem: implications for ecosystem services. Ecosphere 2(5):art55 doi:10.1890/ES11-00027.1

Belote, R.T., S.P. Prisley, R.H. Jones, M. Fitzpatrick, and K. de Beurs. 2011. Forest productivity and tree diversity relationships depend on ecological context within mid-Atlantic and Appalachian forests. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 1315-1324.

Belote, R.T., L.J. Makarick, M.J. Kearsley, and C.L. Lauver. 2010. Tamarisk removal in Grand Canyon National Park: Changing the native-exotic relationship as a restoration goal. Ecological Restoration 28: 449-459.

Souza, L., R.T. Belote, P. Kardol,  J.F. Weltzin, and R.J. Norby. 2010. CO2 enrichment accelerates successional development of an understory plant community. Journal of Plant Ecology 3: 33-39.

Belote, R.T., N.J. Sanders, and  R.H. Jones. 2009. Disturbance alters local-regional richness relationships in Appalachian forests. Ecology 90: 2940-2947

Belote, R.T. and  R.H. Jones. 2009. Tree leaf litter composition and nonnative earthworms influence plant invasion in experimental forest floor mesocosms. Biological Invasions 11: 1045-1052.

Belote, R.T., R.H. Jones, S.M. Hood, and B.W. Wender. 2008. Diversity-invasibility along a disturbance gradient in Appalachian forests. Ecology 89: 183-192

Weltzin, J.F., R.T. Belote, L.M. Thomas, J.K. Keller, C.E. Engel. 2007. Ensuring that “authors” write – the authors reply. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5: 11

Belote, R.T. and J.F. Weltzin. 2006. Interactions between two co-dominant, invasive plants in a temperate deciduous forest. Biological Invasions 8: 1629-1641

Weltzin, J.F., R.T. Belote, L.M. Thomas, J.K. Keller, C.E. Engel. 2006. Authorship in ecology: attribution, accountability, and responsibility. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4: 435-441

Belote, R.T., J.F. Weltzin, and R.J. Norby. 2004. Response of an understory plant community to elevated [CO2] depends on differential responses of dominant invasive species and is mediated by soil water availability. New Phytologist 161: 827-835. 

Sanders, N.J., R.T. Belote, and J.F. Weltzin. 2004. Multi-trophic effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on understory plant and arthropod communities. Environmental Entomology 33: 1609-1616.

Weltzin, J.F., R.T. Belote, N.J. Sanders. 2003. Biological invaders in a greenhouse world: will elevated CO2 fuel plant invasions? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:146-153.