LANDFIRE January 2017 - Action!
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LANDFIRE in 2017 - All About Action

LANDFIRE (LF) bulletins offer information and resources that promote understanding, stimulate discussion, encourage application, and advance innovations that support large land management.
Applications GALORE! We added 35 new LF apps to the Web-hosted Application Map (WHAM!). Read the thumbnail in the bulletin, and/or the study that uses LF data to address land management issues surrounding conservation corridors and estimates of landscape resistance. (LF EVT data were used.)
LF 2014 Update Completed for CONUS

The LF 2014 Update for the conterminous United States has been completed, with Alaska and Hawaii soon to follow.  The latest in a series of biennial efforts to maintain the currency of LF products, the LF 2014 Update captures disturbance and succession for the years 2013-2014 and modifies the vegetation and fuels data to account for these changes.

To develop the disturbance layers, the LF 2014 Update team at the USGS EROS Center used a consistent approach of combining geospatial data depicting areas of disturbance with Remote Sensing of Landscape Change (RSLC) derived data. Data from combinations of Landsat satellite imagery, fire program data, e.g., Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS), cooperator-provided field data, and other ancillary data, e.g., Protected Area Database (PAD), were used to locate and characterize large wildfires.

Data for each year from 1999-2014, along with the updated vegetation and fuels layers, are distributed through the Program website as well as through various web applications including the Wildland Fire Decision Support System and ArcGIS Online.

Access LF 2014 Update data here.

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NEWS: Remapping LANDFIRE  

With the beginning of the new year, the LF program is kicking off its first comprehensive remapping effort. LF base products were mapped from 2005-2009 using circa 2001 imagery. Since then, several updates have been made to areas that have changed, but data for much of the country remains static. Therefore, LF is embarking on a remapping effort that will incorporate new imagery, field reference information, algorithms, and computing capabilities to recreate the base products, providing a more current data set, correcting errors in previous versions, and providing a more stable base to continue future updating.

In late 2015, LF stood up a Remap Strategy Team at the USGS EROS Center to review existing products, feedback, and suggestions that were collected since the program began over 10+ years ago. This review then led to a list of investigation topics and the design of an ambitious prototyping effort to test new algorithms and data, leading to definition of the methods and procedures to be used.

The Remap Strategy Team has developed prototype data products for several locations across the country. A field trip to central Idaho in May 2016 collected plot information and validated prototype vegetation products created for that area. The prototype activities are nearly complete, and the team is now developing and documenting their recommended procedures.

Production of the Remap effort is expected to last 3-4 years with incremental product delivery and continued updates provided while the Remap is ongoing

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APPLICATIONS: How important is YOUR work to LF?

What's up with products that you helped create? They're everywhere. Consider that The Nature Conservncy's LANDFIRE team (TNC-LF) just added 35 MORE applications (131 total) to the interactive Web Hosted Applications Map (WHAM!), based on geography, uniqueness, and innovation. The WHAM! can't remotely show all the ways that LF supports land management, so consider the latest posted apps as sketches of what's possible: climate change, forest needs, biodiversity, birds, bobcats, food storage ... . We could go on, but it would take days, and there's not enough space. (Use Chrome or Firefox, NOT Explorer)

BTW: If you know of applications that should be pinpointed on the WHAM!, send us the info. Your work is vital, and other LF users want to know about it.

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CONTRIBUTE: Data Product Review Webinars

In 2016, the Data Product Review website began as a content management system to enable user input regarding Existing Vegetation Types, and Fire Behavior Fuel Models and rules. THANKS TO YOU and the great comments and suggestions you offered via the website and virtual workshops, we have made enhancements to the site, and welcome your continual feedback.

In 2017, EIGHT VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS will be offered in February/March for East, West, Alaska, and Hawaii, structured around the data. Again, your contributions – working at your own pace on the web and through the workshops – are very important.

LF listens and relishes feedback and invites you to participate. There's more about the LF Data Product Review and the opportunity for you to make an impact …. Click here for the schedule and registration details. 

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LF BpS: What We Did, What You Did, and Why It Matters

In late 2015, the TNC-LF team began a three-year project to update and improve the Biophysical Settings (BpS) model set. Two phases of the three-part project have been completed, with the third expected in 2017.   
  • Cleaning: the models were moved from the VDDT format to ST-Sim, unmapped and duplicate models were removed, and a user-friendly description document was developed.
  • Updating: Over the 2016 calendar year, 8700+ BpS description documents were downloaded from the review site by local and regional experts, representing more than 95% of all BpS mapped by LF across the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Additionally, more than 75% of all BpS have been downloaded five or more times, and some more than 50 different times. These downloads increased user knowledge about LF and BpS, and ultimately generated several hundred local reviews for the TNC-LF Team to consider incorporating into the next delivered version of BpS models sometime in 2017.
  • Delivery: Slated for 2017. The models will support the LF 2015 Remap.
Overview offers more detail.
Progress map shows BpS review activity across the country.
Click here to read about the "16 in 2016" webinar series.

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GUIDANCE: Who Ya Gonna Call? Helmbrecht and Blankenship!

Working with datasets can be challenging (infuriating?), especially when they don’t QUITE deliver what you need. For help in understanding and/or modifying LF geospatial data, begin with the recently released guidebook Modifying LANDFIRE Geospatial Data for Local Applications (Helmbrecht and Blankenship 2016). It walks you through the process, beginning with how LF products were developed, then highlights where to look for common problems in the data, and concludes with guidance about performing common modification tasks.  

It is an EXCELLENT resource for anyone working with LF data, but is definitely your go-to when you need to modify data for local application. 70 pages + references. Authors: Don Helmbrecht, Wildland Fire Analyst, USDA Forest Service and Kori Blankenship, TNC-LF fire ecologist.

NOTE: If you want a customized webinar wherein Kori goes over the details of this report and offers a how-to session (tentatively titled "DIY Data Tinkering"), she's available. Contact the LF help desk to make arrangements.

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Interview: Jen Costanza is a landscape ecologist with research interests in the ecological effects of global change, land change modeling and landscape conservation. Her Ph.D. in ecology was awarded from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; she is a Research Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. Jen uses LF data sets on projects covering a wide range of applications, among which is the project that lead to the designation of the world's 36th Biodiversity Hotspot, the North Carolina Coastal Plain (next article). She is a pro at modifying LF data for local use. Here's the interview.

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Global Biodiversity Hotspot
Sometimes something precious is right under your nose, but goes unnoticed. Such it is that a region long explored by botanists and zoologists, the North American Coastal Plain, was recognized only recently as meeting the criteria for a global biodiversity hotspot. LF played a key role in the studyFind out how.

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New Feature: Publications Worth Reading

There are a multitude of publications -- more than we can count -- that cover the uses of LF. Here are three we'd like to share with you this month. If you've read or published an article you want people to know about, send us an email. The more we share information, the more we have.
Mapping forest vegetation for the western United States using modified random forests imputation of FIA forest plots. Riley, Karin, Isaac C. Grenfell and Mark A. Finney. 2016. LF vegetation and biophysical predictors were used to generate a map of imputed plot identifiers at 30 × 30 m spatial resolution for the western United States that can be linked to the FIA databases to produce tree-level maps or to map other plot attributes.

Riparian vegetation as an indicator of riparian condition: Detecting departures from historic condition across the North American West. Macfarlane, William Wallace, Jordan Gilbert, Martha Jensen and Stephen N. Bennett. 2016.  An index to assess reach-scale (500 m segment) riparian vegetation condition across entire drainage networks within large, physiographically-diverse regions was created using LF EVT and BpS. Assessments yielded riparian condition maps to help resource managers better prioritize sites and treatments for reach-scale conservation and restoration activities.

Mycorrhizas, Drought, and Host-Plant Mortality. Gehring, C.A., R.L. Swaty and R.J. Deckert. In: Mycorrhizal Mediation of Soil: Fertility, Structure, and Carbon Storage. Johnson, Nancy Collins, Catherine Gehring and Jan Jansa (eds). Elsevir. 22 November 2016. 279-298. Mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with plants, increasing nutrient and water uptake in return for photosynthate. The authors (including Randy Swaty, TNC-LF ecologist) leverage LF data to explore potential shifts in mycorrnizal communities in a warmer and drier climate.
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Henry Bastian
DOI Business Lead
Frank Fay
USFS Business Lead
Don Long
USFS Technical Lead
Kurtis Nelson
EROS Technical Lead
Jim Smith
TNC-LF Project Lead
The LANDFIRE Program is a cooperative agreement between the USDA Forest Service, agencies of the Department of the Interior, and The Nature Conservancy. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, the Program is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
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