Monument Ridge Aspen Regeneration Study

Understanding how forest management actions affect non-game bird and mammal species.

Project Overview

Since 2018, the Ricketts Conservation Foundation has worked with Bridger-Teton National Forest, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to assess how forest management activities designed to benefit game animals affect non-target species.

The Problem

In Wyoming, aspen woodlands provide important calving and fawning habitat for mule deer and elk. Without regular fires, aspen woodlands are taken over by pines and other conifers and eventually disappear. To prevent this from occurring, forest managers conduct prescribed burns to remove conifers and encourage aspen regeneration. How these actions affect non-game species, such as songbirds and small mammals isn’t well known.

The Solution

In 2018 The Ricketts Conservation Foundation initiated a study at Monument Ridge, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Sublette County, WY. Working with Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Ricketts Conservation Foundation has established two banding stations, conducted bird surveys, trapped small mammals, and placed game cameras to monitor animal movement over the 11,000-acre study area. Gathering and analyzing these data over the next ten years will produce a dataset that will allow us to better understand the impacts of such prescribed fires on non-target species as well as help us to provide land managers with the information they need to best conduct their work.



Located in Western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton offers more than 3.4 million acres of public land for your outdoor recreation enjoyment. With its pristine watersheds, abundant wildlife and immense wildlands, the Bridger-Teton National Forest comprises a large part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48 United States. Offering nearly 1.2 million acres of designated Wilderness, over 3,000 miles of road and trail and thousands of miles of unspoiled rivers and streams, the Bridger-Teton offers something for everyone. We encourage you to visit this beautiful landscape and experience this unique piece of American Heritage.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is the State of Wyoming’s state agency charged with stewardship of the state’s fish, game, and wildlife resources. The department sets fish and game regulations, including issuance of hunting and fishing licenses and enforcement of state regulations throughout the state.

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies connects people, birds and land. We work to conserve birds and their habitats through science, education and stewardship.