Job Type: Paid Internship
Salary Details: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Deadline: May 12, 2023

USFS Office/Lab and Location
A research opportunity is available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana – 

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service’s mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research Project
The purpose of this project is to determine how understory plant communities, especially non-native species, are responding to mechanical fuel reduction treatments and prescribed fire. Many of the ecosystems in the western US are dependent on fire, but climate change in combination with a century of fire suppression, suppression of Indigenous burning, and other management practices have increased the intensity with which fires are burning in some areas. Consequently, reducing fuel hazard is a critical need in many areas and has been identified by the Forest Service as one of the top four threats to National Forests. Invasive species are also included as one of the top four threats. This 2-year project will develop and test a fire effects monitoring program starting with potential fuel treatment projects on Northern Region National Forests. The post-doctoral fellow will conduct research and assist in research design, field data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation of monitoring protocols and results. The post-doctoral fellow will coordinate closely with National Forest System personnel for site selection and feedback.

Learning Objectives
As a result of this training, the participant will improve their knowledge and skills related to vegetation monitoring and applied fire ecology and fuels management and build relationships with natural resource managers.

The mentor for this opportunity is Kimberley Davis ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date
May 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length
The appointment will initially be for two years but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation
The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend
The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements
This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE Information
This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion before June 30, 2023. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Background in plant community ecology and experience or interest in applied ecology and working with natural resource managers.
  • Experience conducting field work and identifying plants to the species level.
  • Demonstrated experience with statistical data analysis in R (e.g., multivariate analysis, statistical modeling) and scientific manuscript preparation
  • Experience working with databases
  • Familiarity with Rocky Mountain flora, invasion biology, and/or fire ecology or fuels management and experience leading field crews

Please apply at this link: