Jonathan Coop

Jonathan Coop

Associate Professor


B.A., University of California–Santa Cruz, Biology, 1995, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, Botany, 2005


View Dr. Coop’s Curriculum Vitae.

Teaching and Research Interests

My teaching and research interests revolve around the ecology, dynamics, conservation, and restoration of plant communities and landscapes in the southern Rocky Mountains. I teach introductory and advanced courses in biology and environmental studies and lead many field trips to wild places near and far. I work with undergraduates in Biology and ENVS, and graduate students in the Master of Environmental Management Program, to explore how disturbance regimes, climate, and spatially-structured abiotic gradients interact to shape diversity, community composition, and landscape dynamics; human influences on ecological systems; and management for a future of certain change but of a less than certain direction and magnitude.

Recent research topics include:

  • Wildfire and climate-driven conversions of southwestern ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests to alternate, non-forested states.
  • The role of forest residuals and refugia in maintaining species and promoting forest recovery following fire.
  • Prescribed fire as a tool for increasing forest resistance to subsequent fire.
  • Impacts of fuel reduction treatments on ecological communities, fuels, and modeled wildfire behavior in pinyon-juniper woodlands.
  • Dendroecology and historical dynamics of sagebrush in the Upper Gunnison Basin.
  • Historical dynamics of aspen forests on Colorado’s western slope.
  • Riparian restoration in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Beyond these topics, graduate students working with me in the MEM program also have the opportunity to develop research and applied projects that reflect their own interests and professional aspirations. Recent examples of these include some of the following subjects:

  • Potential impacts of ski area expansion on snowshoe hare and Canada lynx habitat in Colorado.
  • Effects of high-severity wildfire on woody debris and ground-dwelling arthropod assemblages.
  • Potential impacts of climate change on recreational impacts to alpine landscapes and Colorado 14ers.
  • Development of local food systems and sustainable agriculture in the Gunnison Valley.

Courses Taught

Applied Sustainability, Ecology, Ecology Lab, Environmental Biology, Environmental Biology Lab, Environmental Monitoring, Forest Ecology, Natural History of the Gunnison Basin, Rocky Mountain Flora, Science of Sustainability and Resilience, Watersheds of the World, and senior seminars in Biogeography, Ethnobotany, Fire Ecology, Forest Dynamics, and Landscape Ecology.

Select Recent Publications

Walker, R.B., Coop, J.D., Parks, S.A., and L. Trader. 2018. Fire regimes approaching historic norms reduce wildfire-facilitated conversion from forest to non-forest. Ecosphere 9. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.2182

Coop, J.D, T.A. Grant, P.A. Magee, and E. Moore. 2017. Mastication treatment effects on vegetation and fuels in piñon-juniper woodlands of central Colorado, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 396: 68-84.

Krawchuk, M.A., Haire, S.L., Coop, J.D., Parisien, M.A., Whitman, E., Chong, G., & Miller, C. 2016. Topographic and fire weather controls of fire refugia in forested ecosystems of northwestern North America. Ecosphere 7. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1632

Coop, J. D., Parks, S. A., McClernan S. R., & Holsinger, L. M. 2016. Influences of prior wildfires on vegetation response to subsequent fire in a reburned southwestern landscape. Ecological Applications 26:346-354

Whitman E., Batllori, E., Parisien, M.A., Miller, C., Coop, J.D., Krawchuk, M.A., Chong, G.W. and Haire, S.L., 2015. The climate space of fire regimes in north-western North America. Journal of Biogeography 42:1736-1749.

Coop, J.D., Barker, K.J., Knight, A.D., and J.S. Pecharich. 2014. Aspen (Populus tremuloides) stand dynamics and understory plant community changes over 46 years near Crested Butte, Colorado, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 318: 1-12.

Western Colorado University