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Implementation of mid-scale fire regime condition class mapping at Mount Grant, Nevada

Provencher, Louis, Jeff Campbell and Jan Nachlinger
link DOWNLOAD FILE: Mt. Grant Report


We used mid-scale Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC -- also known as Vegetation Condition Class) mapping to provide Hawthorne Army Depot in the Mount Grant area of Nevada, USA, with data layers to plan fuels restoration projects to meet resource management goals. FRCC mapping computes an index of the departure of existing conditions from the natural range of variability and consists of five primary steps:

  • mapping the Potential Natural Vegetation Types (PNVT) based on interpretation of a soil survey;
  • refining PNVTs based on additional information;
  • modeling the natural range of variability (NRV) per PNVT;
  • using field verification, calculation and mapping of departure of current distribution of structural vegetation classes interpreted by remote sensing (IKONOS 4-m resolution satellite imagery) from the NRV; and
  • mapping structural vegetation classes that differ from reference conditions.
  • proposed management actions to reduce the area of departed vegetation classes.

 Pinyon–juniper and mountain mahogany woodlands were found within the NRV, whereas departure increased from moderate for low and big  sagebrush PNVTs and mixed desert shrub to high for riparian mountain meadow. Several PNVTs showed departures that were close to FRCC class limits. The common recommendation to reach the NRV was to decrease the percentage of late-development closed and cheatgrass-dominant classes, thus increasing the percentage of early and mid-development classes.

Article published in International Journal of Wildland Fire 2008 (17), 390-406.