Integrated Landscape Assessment Project

 

Photo of Blue Mountains, Oregon

USFS LogoARRA LogoINR LogoOSU Logo

 

What is the project?

This three-year project created more than fifty jobs to work on the watershed-level prioritization of land management actions based on fuel conditions, wildlife and aquatic habitats, economic values, and projected climate change across all lands in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.  The project explores the dynamics of broad-scale, multi-ownership landscapes over time by evaluating and integrating information about:

  • fuel conditions. The project examines current conditions and assesses how they may develop within climate change scenarios;
  • selected wildlife habitats. The project assesses how fuel treatments might affect key habitats; and
  • potential costs and benefits of management treatments. This includes the economic potential of fuel removal as well as opportunities for new economic development.

Broad-scale Prioritization Example

Example broad-scale prioritization
by watershed (Miles Hemstrom)

Products from the project will help land managers, planners, and policymakers evaluate management strategies that reduce fire risk, improve habitat, and benefit rural communities.

 

What questions does the project address?

The project integrates data and tools, creating a decision support framework to help planners, managers and policymakers make the best use of available information. The project addresses these main questions:

  • what are the conditions and trends of forest fuels?
  • what are the conditions and trends of selected wildlife habitats?
  • will management activities have economic benefits? Could these activities pay for themselves?
  • which watersheds should managers prioritize for restoration to concurrently reduce critical fuels, improve (or not degrade) wildlife habitat, and have positive economic effects?

 

Who is involved in the project?

The project is a collaborative effort among scientists, analysts, and writers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Oregon State University College of Forestry, and the Oregon University System Institute for Natural Resources (INR). The project also brings together scientists, land managers, and planners from other state and federal forestry, wildlife, and natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, and universities.

 

What products does the project create?

 
The project creates a variety of analytical and graphical tools that generate tables, graphs, and maps that land managers and planners can use to integrate and prioritize management activities.  The project's reports, publications, models, model output, maps, data, and tools will be archived and available online so that scientists and managers in years to come will be able to use and build on the project's products.  The project will also create a web-enabled decision support system if time and resources permit.

Biomass Modeling

Biomass modeling products (Joshua Halofsky)

 

Who will use the information, and how will they use it?

Land managers, planners, analysts, scientists, policymakers, and large-area landowners can use the project’s tools and information for many applications of landscape analysis at the regional, state, and watershed levels. Some potential applications include:

  • watershed restoration strategies;
  • forest plan revisions;
  • landscape conservation strategies; and 
  • statewide assessments and bioregional plans.

 

How does this project relate to other wildfire risk projects, such as the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Project (LANDFIRE)?

This project evaluates current and future resource conditions across mixed ownerships. It will extend and complement more generalized landscape-level wildfire risk projects, such as LANDFIRE.

 

How might people use the project’s tools and information in the future?

The data and tools developed for this project can support other types of landscape evaluations that extend beyond a focus on integrated fuel priorities. This collaborative project develops methods that may be used to address other important public issues over large landscapes, such as:

  • rural economic development;
  • carbon market and biomass energy opportunities; and
  • climate change.