LANDFIRE (Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools)

Overview: 

LANDFIRE (Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools) is a vegetation, fire and fuel characteristics mapping program. LANDFIRE data products consist of over 50 spatial data layers including: Existing Vegetation Type, Canopy, and Height; Biophysical Settings; Environmental Site Potential; Fire Behavior Fuel Models; Fire Regime Classes; and Fire Effects layers. These products are designed to be used at a landscape-scale to support resource management initiatives related to vegetation, fire management planning, stewardship of public and private lands, climate change and carbon sequestration and other topics. They can be used to evaluate management alternatives across boundaries. LANDFIRE was designed to use peer-reviewed, consistent, and repeatable scientific methods. Data products are developed through integrating products and procedures such as relational databases, georeferenced land-based plots and polygons representing field conditions, satellite-enabled remote sensing, systems ecology, gradient analysis, predictive landscape modeling, and vegetation and disturbance dynamics.

Purpose: 

LANDFIRE is a mapping program with products designed to support strategic vegetation, fire, and fuels management planning across multiple boundaries. Its geospatial products describe potential and existing vegetation, surface and canopy fuel characteristics, and simulated historical fire regimes conditions.

Inputs: 

Inputs and outputs vary depending on the specific data product. User-collected data is not required for most products. Some general descriptions follow, although more detail can be found on the LANDFIRE Data Products pages.

Vegetation: Products range from maps of existing vegetation types, to maps of dominant vegetation pre Euro-American settlement (biophysical settings), to simple models that can be used to compare historic and current vegetation conditions. LANDFIRE uses vegetation products to create fuel and fire regimes data. Most vegetation products use NatureServe's Ecological Systems classification.

Fuel: Data describe the composition and characteristics of surface and canopy fuel.

Fire: Historical fire regimes, intervals, and vegetation conditions are mapped using the Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT).

Disturbance: Products reflect change on the landscape caused by management activities and natural disturbance, and are created by compiling data from many different sources (Landsat satellite imagery, user-contributed data, Rapid Assessment of Vegetation Condition after Wildfire, Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity, etc.). Products include maps which represent disturbance type, severity, and year.

Topography: Products include basic information on slope, aspect and elevation, compiled from a variety of sources.

While LANDFIRE has developed tools that help managers compare current to reference (aka "historic") conditions, the LANDFIRE team understands that managers also need to look into a future that includes new drivers such as exotic invasives, and climate change. In addition to providing input data for ecological models, both spatial and aspatial, LANDFIRE products can accommodate climate change information such as:

Changing disturbance probabilities. For example, Louis Provencher and colleagues in Nevada have modified LANDFIRE reference condition models to represent current ecosystems, then added predicted future changes in fire regimes, potential restoration and other disturbances to explore what their ecosystems may look like, and how to adapt.

LANDFIRE ecological modeling was done in Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT). VDDT has been updated to a new platform called Path (http://essa.com/tools/path/) that allows for modeling inter-ecosystem shifts (i.e., acres converting to new ecosystems over time).

LANDFIRE's Biophyical Settings Descriptions are being used on the Hiawatha National Forest as a framework for assessing potential climate change impacts. These descriptions are robust, have associated ecological models (to be manipulated in Path) and are mapped.

Are you using LANDFIRE for climate change planning? If so, please notify us at landfire@tnc.org.

Outputs: 

LANDFIRE data products consist of over 50 spatial data layers that can support a range of land management analysis and modeling. Specific data layer products include: Existing Vegetation Type, Canopy, and Height; Biophysical Settings; Environmental Site Potential; Fire Behavior Fuel Models; Fire Regime Classes; and Fire Effects layers.

Restrictions and Limitations: 
LANDFIRE National products are delivered at a 30-meter pixel resolution. The most effective use of the products is at the landscape scale. Thus, applying LANDFIRE data at an individual pixel level or in small groups of pixels is not recommended. LANDFIRE products are not intended to replace local-scale data products. Appropriate landscape-scale analysis may include nationwide, regional (single large states, groups of smaller states), or sub-regional (large landscapes) strategic planning. Since LANDFIRE represents a wide variety of products with many potential applications, users will need to ensure that the product they are using is appropriate for a particular application.
Tool Developers: 

LANDFIRE is a shared effort between the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and The Nature Conservancy.

Format: 
Web
Audience: 
Researcher
Extension
Land Manager
Other
Time Investment: 
High
Spatial Scale: 
Farm/Forest
Time Scale: 
User-defined