Kimberley Davis

Research Ecologist
(406) 329-4867

Research Topics

  • Post-fire forest recovery
  • Climate change impacts and adaptation options in forests
  • Reforestation

Personal Summary

Kim’s research is broadly focused on understanding the impacts of changing fire regimes and climate on western forest ecosystems. Recent work has focused on identifying how climate and other biophysical drivers influence post-fire tree regeneration and projecting how climate change may impact post-fire forest recovery. Climate change and changes in fire regimes are increasingly leading to changes in the way ecosystems recover following wildfire, in some cases resulting in post-fire vegetation transitions, e.g. from forests to shrublands. Kim’s current projects include work to understand where these vegetation transitions may be most likely, which type of vegetation may dominate following high severity wildfire, and what options managers have for resisting, accepting or directing these post-fire vegetation transitions.

Selected Publications & Products


Non-technical summaries of Kim and her collaborators’ recent research can be found in this Science You Can Use Bulletin, as well as a Northern Rockies Fire Science Network Science Review and Research Brief.

A Fire study map (map of research and case studies) provides information about studies relevant to managing post-fire vegetation transitions. A synthesis of the state of the science, practice, and policy around managing post-fire vegetation transitions in the northwestern US can be found at


Wolf K, Higuera PE, Davis KT, Dobrowski SZ (2021) Wildfire impacts on forest microclimate vary with biophysical context. Ecosphere. 12:e03467.

Nuñez MA, Davis KT, Dimarco R, Peltzer DA, Paritsis J, Maxwell BD and Pauchard A. (2021). Non-native tree invasions as a tool to mitigate climate change: more cons than pros. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Fargione J, Haase DL, Burney OT, Kildisheva OA, Edge G, Cook-Patton SC, Chapman T, Rempel A, Hurteau MD, Davis KT, Dobrowksi S et al. (2021) Challenges to the reforestation pipeline in the United States. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. 4: 629198.

Davis KT, Higuera PE, Dobrowski SZ, Parks SA, Abatzoglou JT, Rother MT, and Veblen TT. (2020) Fire-catalyzed vegetation shifts in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests of the western United States. Environmental Research Letters. 15:1040b8. View a map of results.

Coop JD, Parks SA, Stevens-Rumann CS, Crausbay S, Higuera PE, Hurteau MD, Tepley A, Whitman E, Assal T, Collins BM, Davis KT, Dobrowski S, Falk DA, Fornwalt PJ, Fulé PZ, Harvey BJ, Kane VR, Littlefield CE, Margolis EQ, North M, Parisien MA, Prichard S, and Rodman KC. (2020) Wildfire-driven forest conversion in western North American landscapes. Bioscience, biaa061.

Davis KT, Dobrowski SZ, Higuera PE, Holden ZA, Veblen TT, Rother MT, Parks SA, Sala A, and Maneta MP. (2019) Wildfires and climate change push low-elevation forests across a critical climate threshold for tree regeneration. PNAS. 116:6193-6198.