Anu Kramer

Anu Kramer

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Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology

1630 Linden Drive

Madison, WI 53706-1598


Humans have impacted all living systems on earth – through direct contact, climate change, air pollution, and exotic species introductions. I am fascinated by those systems as well as how human actions continue to shape the world in intended and unintended ways. I am excited to expand my research in wildfire and wildlife. I primarily use GIS and remote sensing to answer my research questions, but believe that a cross-disciplinary approach that considers work and methods of other fields, especially social science, is critical for creating real world change. To this end, I collaborate with scientists, managers, professionals, and the next generation.

My PhD work focused on using remote sensing to model fuels and forest structure at the landscape scale to assist with wildfire and wildlife habitat modeling. Specifically, I used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) for quantifying ladder fuels (vegetation that carries fire into tree canopies) in the Sierra Nevada (Kramer et al. 2014) and Klamath mountains (Kramer et al. 2016) of California. I collaborated with the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (including indigenous, community, federal, and non-profit groups). I also helped develop a fine-scale habitat model for the California Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis; Kramer et al. 2016). In so doing, I made existing LiDAR data accessible to land managers by showing that common processing methods accurately predicted certain variables from LiDAR (without necessitating complex raw data processing).

Previous postdoctoral research explored the intersection of homes and wildfire. I showed that some US and state regulations based on geographic boundaries of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) may miss the mark when it comes to mandating fire mitigation efforts (e.g., requiring fire-safe materials in buildings less likely to burn, while requiring nothing of buildings more likely to burn; Kramer et al. 2018; publication attached). I also showed that rebuilding after California wildfires is swift, yet pales in comparison to housing growth in fire-prone areas (Kramer et al. In review). After the 2017 Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, CA, I responded to media and the fire science community, comparing this fire to others in California. I presented the results at a national fire conference, where I received interest from scientists, the public, and insurance groups (Kramer et al. In review).  This led to presenting my work to the Personal Insurance Federation of California.

My current postdoctoral research focuses on the foraging behavior of the California Spotted Owl using LiDAR.  Many Sierra Nevada forests historically experienced frequent wildfire that promoted heterogeneous forest structure, yet the California Spotted Owl prefers dense forests for nesting.  Maintaining large patches of dense forests can lead to a greater danger of stand-replacing wildfire, juxtaposing owl protection in the short vs. long term.  However, the pattern of owl foraging within and outside of these dense forest patches is unknown.  Partnering with private and federal organizations, this research will inform how Sierra Nevada forest management can promote forest and owl resilience across management and ownership boundaries in the face of wildfire risk.


  • Ph.D. Env. Science, Policy, and Management, University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2016
  • A. Biology & Anthropology, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, 2009.


  • 2016-2018 – Postdoctoral Research Associate: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, SILVIS Lab, Dept. of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
  • 2015-2016 – Private Contractor: Deer Creek Resources, Orleans, CA
  • 2009-2010 – Forestry Technician: Pacific Southwest Research, USFS, Davis, CA


Google Scholar and ResearchGate

Gallagher, C., Keane, J., Shaklee, P., Kramer, H., Gerrard, R. In press. Spotted owl foraging patterns following fuels treatments in the northern Sierra Nevada, California. Journal of Wildlife Management and Wildlife Monographs.

Kramer, H., Mockrin, M., Alexandre, P., Stewart, S., Radeloff, V. 2018. Where wildfires destroy buildings in the US relative to the wildland-urban interface and national fire outreach programs. International Journal of Wildland Fire 27(5):329-341.

Radeloff, V., Helmers, D., Kramer, H., Mockrin, M., Alexandre, P., Bar Massada, A., Butsic, V., Hawbaker, T., Martinuzzi, S., Syphard, A., Stewart, S. 2018. Rapid growth of the U.S. Wildland Urban Interface exacerbates wildfire problems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(13):3314-3319.

Rissman, A.R., Burke, K.D., Kramer, H.A., Radeloff, V.C., Schilke, P.R., Selles, O.A., Toczydlowski, R.H., Wardropper, C.B., Barrow, L.A., Chandler, J.L., Geleynse, K. 2018. Forest management for novelty, persistence, and restoration influenced by policy and society. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16(8):454-462.

Kramer, H.A., Collins, B.M., Gallagher, C.V., Keane, J.J., Stephens, S.L., Kelly, M. 2016. Accessible light detection and ranging: estimating large tree density for habitat identification. Ecosphere 7(12):15pp.

Kramer, H.A., Collins, B.M., Lake, F.K., Jakubowski, M.K., Stephens, S.L., Kelly, M. 2016Estimating ladder fuels: a new approach combining field photography with LiDAR. Remote Sensing 8(9):23pp.

Kramer, H.A., Collins, B.M., Kelly, M., Stephens, S.L. 2014. Quantifying ladder fuels: A new approach using LiDAR. Forests 5(6):1432-1453.

Collins, B.M., Kramer, H.A., Menning, K., Dillingham, C., Saah, D., Stine, P.A., Stephens, S.L. 2013. Modeling hazardous fire potential within a completed fuel treatment network in the northern Sierra Nevada. Forest Ecology and Management 310:156-166.

Kramer, H.A., Montgomery, D.M., Eckhart, V.M., Geber, M.A. 2011. Environmental and dispersal controls of an annual plant’s distribution: how similar are patterns and apparent processes at two spatial scales? Plant Ecology 212(11):1887-1899.