LANDFIRE has grown into a body of innovations, experiences, analyses and tools that express the needs and creativity of large landscape managers, conservationists, scientists and planners.
The LANDFIRE Program site offers a few examples of application projects and data uses. For the Conservation Gateway, we have selected a few of the hundreds of reports and case studies that have been written and recorded by practitioners, science communities, land managers and project leaders from across the United States, and have posted them in the Summary Stories and Library sections. Searching by key words, locations, and looking at the WHAM! map will help you find more resources.
On this page we ask our TNC-LANDFIRE scientists to choose a few favorites among the hundreds of recent publications, videos and reports he or she is reading and viewing. A different staff member offers selections each month, so check back regularly.
October extra: read this feature story about the collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, LANDFIRE, and the Cherokee National Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.
OCTOBER 2014 STAFF PICKS
I appreciate how an increasing number of researchers are cleverly combining existing sources of data to address a pressing problem. Bruggeman et al. 2014 do just this in their recent paper titled Factors Related to Northern Goshawk Landscape Use in the Western Great Lakes Region, published in the Journal of Raptor Research, Sept 2014. The authors combined LANDFIRE and local datasets to identify potential goshawk habitat at large spatial extents.
Oftentimes a user will only work across a few LANDFIRE map zones, and will require data or models from those areas only. Lately I have been working on some national-scale projects and need Biophysical Settings model descriptions from the Lower 48 states. Now LANDFIRE delivers “Compiled Model Information.” For example, it is now possible to download all LANDFIRE model descriptions for the Lower 48 states plus Hawaii or Alaska all at once in an Access Database. I am now able to explore reference conditions for many states at once or do queries to get very specific information such as a complete list of indicator plants for all 1698 Biophysical Settings for the lower 48 plus Hawaii.
Our “LANDFIRE” YouTube channel is packed with useful videos. The video, Overlay Grids Using the Combine Function, is the most downloaded, and I can understand why. LANDFIRE produces dozens of spatial datasets. Alone they are all valuable, but when combined they become even more powerful. For example, if you wanted to make a Moose Habitat map, and knew the combination of vegetation type, height and percent cover, you could use the methods described in the video to first combine the datasets, then select the appropriate combinations, export that data as also described to make the relevant map. Once empowered with a few techniques described in this and the other videos on our YouTube channel, the LANDFIRE data come alive
SEPTEMBER 2014 STAFF PICKS
LANDFIRE Webinars with the Joint Fire Science Program regional consortia--a example of collaboration with another important federal program aimed at disseminating useful information to the fire community. When 2014 ends, we'll have co-hosted 12 sessions, all recorded and available online.
(so far) that demonstrate how to really get something done, from running map tools, to editing grids, to running the Vegetation Departure Calculator and more.
A LANDFIRE data viewer - though the information is a bit dated, this tool illustrates both the national perspective of LANDFIRE data products and how information can be presented in a web interface.
AUGUST 2014 STAFF PICKS
Sarah Hagen, Spatial Analyist
Who is Sarah? Click here to find out
The LANDFIRE Data Access Tool is an ArcGIS toolbar developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station and distributed by the National Interagency Fuels Technology Team. The tool allows users to interact with the LANDFIRE Data Distribution Site and download LANDFIRE data directly from ArcMap.
Ecological Conservation Risk Index - This is a relative indicator of the overall risk of ecosystem loss in an ecoregion. It utilizes summary values for ecoregions taken from existing datasets, including LANDFIRE Vegetation Departure.
2014 SCGIS Conference, July 11-13, in California. On Saturday, July 12, I presented Using GIS and LANDFIRE to Assess Large Scale Fire Needs. As states and organizations move toward more robust fire programs, the first step is often to implement a Fire Needs Assessment. These assessments help make the case for restoring fire to departed ecosystems and can inform fire management strategies. One resource that exists for states and organizations creating or revising their fire programs is The Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Project, also known as LANDFIRE. I demonstrated how simple GIS techniques combined with LANDFIRE Program products can assess the historic role of fire on a large scale landscape, and how that role compares to current conditions.
JULY 2014 STAFF PICKS
Who is Jeannie? Click here to find out.
As the web and content manager for this Gateway site, I get to see every video, read every post, look at every photo, and know the ins and outs of what we're holding here. Picking a couple of favorites is a tough one, but here goes.
The LANDFIRE Data Viewer allows users to view Ecological Alteration Departure Index and Uncharacteristic Succession Class data. The Ecosystem Alteration Departure Index (also known as Fire Regime Condition Class Departure Index, FRCC DI) data layer estimates the difference between current vegetation conditions and reference conditions using methods described in the interagency FRCC Guidebook. LANDFIRE computed the departure index individually for each major vegetation type within each Ecological Subsection, which can create abrupt changes in departure near boundaries and create visually apparent seam lines when displayed.
Working with Katherine Medlock, TNC's East Tennessee Program Director in Knoxville, we're developing a case study about how LANDFIRE products profoundly impacted the way that the Cherokee National Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative stakeholders approached conservation and restoration. Using the Landscape Conservation Forecasting process, the group put to rest years of disagreement (including litigations and appeals) and developed consensus regarding a far-reaching action plan. Katherine says that without LANDFIRE, the group was stalemated and unable to build consensus.
Worth reading - Stephen Arno's article in May-June 2014 issue of Wildfire Magazine, Why Firefighters Should Embrace Fire Ecology
. What he says: during the last half-century, scientific knowledge of the importance of fire in maintaining forest ecosystems has mushroomed and spread in some measure even to the outdoors-conscious public. However, most Americans, including firefighters, have a mixed bag of perceptions about wildland fire. Based on his experience studying fire, and his observation of fire control efforts and public perceptions of wildland fire, Arno says that an understanding of fire ecology would benefit the public and help forest managers, fire managers, and firefighters in their work. This would also benefit forest ecosystems.
JUNE 2014 STAFF PICKS
Who is Kori? Click here to find out.
In mid-May I attended the Large Wildland Fire Conference in Missoula, MT. I saw many great presentations and posters. For my pics this month, I’d like to highlight three presentations from the conference that highlight different uses of LANDFIRE data.
Josh Hyde and colleagues presented a poster entitled “A comparison of LANDFIRE fuel representation systems and their application in estimating fire effects across landscapes .” What I liked about this poster is that it showed the value of reviewing and customizing data.
The poster showed results of their comparison of LANDFIRE Fuels Classification Characterization System (FCCS) and Fuel Loading Model (FLM) data layers to ground measured data and the impact of the different data sets on fire effects as modeled in the Wildland Fire Assessment Tool. The conclusion: LANDFIRE data are good for filling gaps in coverage but customized fuels data will be better.
Greg Dillon gave an information packed presentation on development of the Wildland Fire Potential Map, a tool for wildfire risk assessment and fuels prioritizations at broad scales. The map was developed using past fire occurrence, LANDFIRE 2008 fuels data and FSim 2012 estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity. I’m not the only one to think this map is rad; Greg won 3d place for analytic presentations in ESRI’s 2013 map gallery for it!
And, I invite you to look at the session that I lead at the conference. We've posted Simulating the Historical Range of Variability in Fire-Adapted Forests on the LANDFIRE YouTube channel. It focuses on a simulation modeling approach for estimating a historical range of variability (HRV) based on information contained within the LANDFIRE vegetation dynamics models. This approach offers a repeatable process for calculating the HRV using data that are available for many of the more than 300 ecosystems mapped by LANDFIRE in the U.S.
MAY 2014 STAFF PICKS
An Assessment of the Ecosystems Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest and Surrounding Lands: A Synthesis of the eCAP Methodology and LiDAR Vegetation Analysis. Author Josh Kelly and others compared current vegetation conditions with desired conditions in order to explore and highlight the management needs of 10 major ecosystems in a 1,700,000-acre study area of global conservation significance. LANDFIRE Biophysical Settings data were used.
In a paper that used ST-Sim, LANDFIRE supported modeling software, and the LANDFIRE Vegetation Change Tracker, Wilson et al. (2014) illuminated the importance land-use will play in conservation over the next 100 years for the Pacific Northwest. In this scenario modeling research the authors found that logging, agriculture and development may be a bigger challenge to biodiversity than climate change.
APRIL 2014 STAFF PICKS
Visualizing Landscape Conservation Forecasting by Joel Tuhy, Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy's Utah Chapter. It's the very best explanation of the "Departure" metric I have ever seen, accomplished without a single word of text on the screen. Tuhy provides a visual introduction to Landscape Conservation ForecastingTM (LCF) which uses remote sensing, predictive ecological models, and cost-benefit assessments to develop a landscape-scale conservation action plan.
Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca, Karin Tuxen-Bettman and Claire Kremen. Value of Wildland Habitat for Supplying Pollination Services to Californian Agriculture. Society for Range Management, June 2011. 36-41. Who doesn't love bees?
Swaty, R., K. Blankenship, S. Hagen, J. Fargione, and J. Smith et al. 2011. Accounting for Ecosystem Alteration Doubles Estimates of Conservation Risk in the Conterminous United States. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23002. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023002. A 50,000 foot view of the conservation situation in the Lower 48 states.