The Suding Lab

We work in grasslands, rangelands, woodlands, riparian areas and alpine tundra.

We use a combination of long-term monitoring, modeling and experimental approaches at population to community to ecosystem levels of ecological organization. We love thinking about plant-soil feedbacks, functional traits, species effects on ecosystem processes, non-linear and threshold dynamics — as well as good food, climbing routes, and local music.


Niwot Ridge Long-term Ecology Project

The Niwot Ridge LTER is a NSF-funded 40+ year study of mountain ecosystems in the Colorado Rockies. Our mission is to understand how our complex mountain systems are changing and to illuminate the future of the many critical services these systems provide to all of us living downhill.


Boulder Apple Tree Project

In the mid-1800s, there were thousands of unique varieties of apple trees in the United States, some of the most astounding diversity ever developed in a food crop. The Boulder Apple Tree Project is working to restore local apple cultivars on the Colorado Front Range, and in the process, train a new generation of community-engaged scientists. Credit: Matt Talarico/Media Impact Lab


Grassland Diversity Project

It is hard to work in a landscape when services vary widely from year to year due to climate fluctuations, especially when these fluctuations are getting more and more extreme. Does diversity hold a key? In both California and Colorado, we are exploring how managing for a diversity of species, all with different strategies, might best stabilize services in face of this increased variability.

Rangeland Resilience Project

More frequent drought and more frequent intense storms will require the adoption of adaptive management practices that enhance resilience to this variability and stabilize rangeland production. The Rangeland Resilience Project is working on strategies to implement climate adaptation tailored to the local exposures, sensitivities and adaptation opportunities faced by ranchers and land managers. We are using a comparative framework that spans across five rangeland regions within the Western US.


Mountain Riparian Restoration Project

Degraded riparian zones often suffer from the dual impacts of lowered water tables and increased browsing. We are exploring ecophysioloigcal approaches that can better signal constraints on riparian species recovery to help prioritize management efforts.


Carrizo Plains Ecosystem Project

Near Bakersfield California, the Carrizo Plains is a special place to study the links between conservation, ecosystems, and climate change. The activities of a threatened small mammal, the giant kangaroo rat, structures the landscape through burrowing and foraging. Influences of cattle grazing and climate change change both top-down and bottom-up effects on this tightly interactive system. Photo: Joan Dudney

Global Arid Zone Project

In the GAZP, we are bringing together arid and semi-arid restoration researchers globally to pool existing data and knowledge about seeding in aridlands for a deeper understanding of restoration science.