Molly E. Hunter, Ph.D.

hunter Research and Teaching Interests

Wildfires are posing an increasing threat to natural resources in a variety of ecosystems in the southwestern United States. The problem has exacerbated through natural and human-caused changes in fuels and climate. The increasing challenges that land managers face with fire and fuels management are best addressed through science-driven management. My research incorporates issues directly relevant to fire management, including the ecological effects of wildfires, appropriate wildfire mitigation, and the ecological impacts and effectiveness of fuels management programs. I am also interested in broader issues surrounding fire and fuels management, including economics, policy, watersheds, and wildlife.

I teach a variety of courses for students in the School of Forestry and for fire management professional in continuing education programs. Incorporating the most recent research in fire science and ecology in these courses is critical so that students and professionals will be best prepared for the challenges they will face in fire management in the future. With knowledge of the broad implications of wildfire and fuels management, land managers should be able to make informed decisions that lead to ecosystem sustainability.


B.S. University of California at Davis, 1998
Ph.D. Colorado State University, 2004

Contact Information


Selected Publications

Peppin, D., Fulé, P.Z., Sieg, C.H., Beyers, J. and Hunter. M.E. 2010. Post-wildfire seeding in forests of the West: An evidence-based review. Forest Ecology and Management. 260(5): 573-586

Martinson, E.J., M.E. Hunter, and P.N. Omi. 2008. Fuel management activities and nonnative invasive plants. In: Wildland fire in ecosystems – fire and nonnative invasive plants, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42 vol. 6.

Hunter, M.E., W.D. Shepperd, L.B. Lentile, J. Butler, J.E. Lundquist, M.G. Andreu, and F.W. Smith. 2007. A comprehensive guide to fuels treatment practices for ponderosa pine in the Black Hills, Colorado Front Range, and Southwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-198. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 93 p.

Freeman, J., T.J. Stohlgren, M.E. Hunter, P.N. Omi, E.J. Martinson, G.W. Chong, and C.S. Brown. 2007. Rapid assessment of postfire plant invasions in coniferous forests of the western United States. Ecological Applications 17(6): 1656-1665.

Hunter, Molly E. and Philip N. Omi. 2006. Response of native and exotic grasses to increased soil nitrogen and relation to recovery in a post-fire environment. Restoration Ecology 14: 587-594.

Hunter, Molly E. and Philip N. Omi. 2006. Seed supply of native and cultivated grasses in pine forests of the southwestern United States and the potential for vegetation recovery following wildfire. Plant Ecology 183: 1-8.

Hunter, Molly E., Philip N. Omi, Erik J. Martinson, and Geneva W. Chong. 2006. Effects of fuel treatments, post-fire rehabilitation treatments, and wildfire on establishment of exotic plants in ponderosa pine forests in the southern Rocky Mountains. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15: 271-281.

Hunter, Molly E. and Eric S. Menges. 2002. Allelopathic effects of Ceratiola ericoides (Empetraceae) on seven rosemary scrub species. American Journal of Botany 89: 1113-1118.