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The Gateway is for the conservation practitioner, scientist and decision-maker. Here we share the best and most up-to-date information we use to inform our work at The Nature Conservancy.

Vegetation Departure Calculator

Blankenship, Kori; Hagen, Sarah; Zanger, Chris; Swaty, Randy; Smith, Jim; Ryan, Colleen; Patton, Jeannie
11/15/2010
link DOWNLOAD FILE:  

The Vegetation Departure Calculator (VDC) provides a comprehensive look at vegetation conditions across the contiguous United States. The VDC is a MS Excel spreadsheet, and includes a Pivot Table that allows users to interactively summarize and compare current vegetation conditions in many different ways (geography, agency, protected status, ecoregion, portfolio status, etc.) using consistent and comprehensive data.

 

NOTE BELOW -- READ THIS FIRST:

 

IN ORDER TO USE THE VDC, YOU MUST SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE TO THE APPROPRIATE LINKS TO ACCESS THE CALCULATOR AND OTHER RESOURCES.

Vegetation Departure is a computed index and attempts to boil down a complex situation into a single numerical index value.  Any index should be used with caution, and users must understand the characteristics of the index to use it properly. Some important things to remember about Vegetation Departure are:

  • The departure value does not inherently tell you why something is departed.
  • Departure is scale-dependent; that is, as you change the size/extent of the area the index is being computed on the result may also change.
  • Departure is highly dependent on the selection of reference conditions.

Like every index, the quality of the departure value is dependent upon the quality of the input data used in the calculations.

THE LINK CONNECTS YOU TO A ZIP FILE. SAVE IT TO YOUR COMPUTER AND THEN OPEN IT. OPENING IT DIRECTLY FROM THE LINK WILL NOT GIVE YOU ACCESS TO THE FUNCTIONS IN THAT FILE.

VDC Metadata

Access the Vegetation Calculator (SEE NOTE IMMEDIATELY BELOW)

  • Note that you will need MS Excel 2007 and a PC-compatible computer for the tool to function correctly. 
  • After downloading the VDC, please review all information embedded in the Vegetation Departure Calculator to understand the context and applicability of the tool and results.

 

Access the VDC Overview Presentation

Watch a VDC Demo

What Can the Vegetation Calculator Do For You?

If you are a regional or state scientist or planner; if you are a preserve manager, steward and/or anyone who needs to know about the health of your large landscape; if you are a Conservancy marketing, philanthropy and/or policy specialist, the departure calculator offers important tools that you can use for conservation planning. Click here to see a sampling of what the VDC can do for you.

The Future of the VDC

LANDFIRE departure data (currently circa 2000) is being improved and updated to 2010, and should be available for the contiguous U.S. in the early summer of 2011.  The TNC LANDFIRE Team hopes to incorporate the new data into the VDC to provide more timely information. We also hope to improve the functionality of the VDC over the near term.

Click here for FAQs

Related Links and Resources

Download the Vegetation Departure brochure and map.

View an 18-slide PowerPoint presentation that explains the thinking behind the calculator: Ecological Condition of the Lower 48 States.

The Vegetation Departure tri-fold brochure provides a national perspective on the spatial distribution of ecosystem conditions across the contiguous U.S.

Hann, W.J., D.L. Bunnell. 2001. Fire and land management planning and implementation across multiple scales. International  Journal of Wildland Fire 10:389-403.

Hann, W.J. 2003. Mapping fire regime condition class: use of different methods to support different scales of prioritization, planning, and implementation. In: Engstrom, R.T., W.J. de Groot, eds. Proceedings of the 22nd Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in Temperate, Boreal and Montane Ecosystems; 2001 Oct. 15-18; Kananaskis, AB. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station. 333 pp.

Hann, W., A. Shlisky, D. Havlina, K. Schon, S. Barrett, T. DeMeo, T., K. Pohl, J. Menakis, D. Hamilton, J. Jones, M. Levesque, C. Frame, C. 2004. Interagency Fire Regime Condition Class Guidebook. Last update January 2008: Version 1.3.0 [Online].

Rollins M.G., B.C. Ward, G. Dillon, S. Pratt, A. Wolf. 2007. Developing the LANDFIRE Fire Regime Data Products.

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