Forest Restoration Triangle


The plan

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program, the Forest Restoration Triangle (FORT) Center strives to increase New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) undergraduate student involvement in professional research, provide research opportunities for graduate students, and facilitate post-university employment as forest managers and researchers, particularly for underrepresented minorities in STEM.   

FORT CREST research broadly aims to develop strategies for the management and restoration of resilient forests in New Mexico and the Southwest in the context of climate change and fire. It engages faculty, students, professional partners, and local communities to provide innovative research and learning opportunities identifying forest management and restoration approaches at and between tree, stand, and landscape levels.  

All partners involved in FORT CREST are fully committed to supporting and promoting the needs of diverse communities, ensuring equitable access to all races, genders, sexes, religions, ethnicities, and economic levels.   

Students and prospective applicants interested in participating in FORT CREST activities (including workshops, conferences, internships, work study opportunities, and graduate assistantships) should contact Dylin Montoya at 

Learn more about this exciting initiative!


$5-Million Grant To Improve Forest Health in New Mexico and Southwest (June 13, 2020) 

The people 

Principal investigator 

Dr. Joshua Sloan: Director of forestry at NMHU, specializing in silviculture and forest management. 

Co-principal investigators 

Dr. Owen Burney: Superintendent of JTH FRC and a leader in the science of forest nursery systems and forest regeneration; he is responsible for Subproject 1. 

Dr. Blanca Céspedes: Department of Forestry chair, specializing in fire ecology and in the use of prescribed fire as a management tool to restore fire-prone ecosystems; she is responsible for Subproject 2. 

Dr. Tomasz Falkowski: Assistant professor in the Department of Forestry focused on socioecological restoration, particularly using traditional agroforestry and participatory methods; he will be responsible for Subproject 3. 

Faculty and Staff 

Dr. James Biggs: Researcher and instructor in the Department of Forestry, focused on range and wildlife science with an emphasis on large ungulates, wildfire and plant ecology. 

Dr. Jennifer Klutsch: Assistant professor in the Department of Forestry with a specialization in forest entomology and pathology. 

Dr. Kyle Shaney: Assistant professor in the Department of Forestry. He is interested in ecology, wildlife management, conservation and restoration. 

Dr. Julie Tsatsaros: Researcher and instructor in the Department of Forestry, focused on teaching and conducting research in watershed management, aquatic ecology, limnology and transdisciplinary research.  

Joseph Zebrowski: Director of NMHU Geospatial Technology Laboratory, providing support in CREST research related to surveying, GIS, and spatial ecology. 

Dylin Montoya: CREST student engagement coordinator tasked with organizing student activities and enhance participation in CREST. 


  • Joshua Sloan, Ph.D.

    Principal investigator and director of forestry at NMHU

  • Owen Burney, Ph.D.

    Co-principal investigator, superintendent of JTH FRC

  • Blanca Céspedes, Ph.D.

    Co-principal investigator, NMHU Department of Forestry chair

  • Tomasz Falkowski, Ph.D.

    Co-principal investigator, assistant professor NMHU Department of Forestry

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff