RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS



Burning for butterflies: Weather and fuel conditions for butterfly habitat

View research brief.

In this study, researchers measured vegetation structure and fuel moisture (pre-burn), weather conditions, belowground heat dosages, and peak temperatures (during the burn), and burn severities and unburned refugia (post-burn) for paired morning and afternoon prescribed burns at each of ten prairie sites throughout the south Puget Sound in 2014.

Fuels guide and database for intact and invaded big sagebrush ecological sites - User manual

The Fuels Guide and Database (FGD) is intended to provide fuel loading and vegetation information for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) in southern Idaho.

Do post-fire fuel treatments and annual grasses interact to affect fire regimes in the Great Basin?

View report.

To assess the effects of aerial and drill seeding on plant community trajectories, fuel composition, and fire regimes, this study collected geospatial datasets spanning 209,000 ha of sagebrush steppe on BLM land in southern Idaho.

Fuel bed response to vegetation treatments in juniper-invaded sagebrush

This study was conducted in conjunction with the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) and was designed to determine the impact of vegetation treatments on fuel variables two years post treatment in sagebrush steppe with an expanding juniper or pinyon −juniper woodland component.

Rangelands on the edge: Modification, fragmentation, and residential development

This Rangelands on the Edge (ROTE) project improves our understanding of the fate of rangelands from historical, present day, and future perspectives by describing human modification, fragmentation, and future residential growth projections for rangeland-dominated vegetation.

Comparing USFS and stakeholder motivations and experiences in western collaboration

View article.

This study involved a statewide survey of participants in Oregon forest collaboratives to examine
differences in motivations, perceptions of success, and satisfaction among Forest Service participants (“agency participants”), who made up 31% of the sample, and other respondents (“non-agency”) who represent nonfederal agencies, interest groups, citizens, and non-governmental groups. This study found that agency participants differed from non-agency participants. They typically had higher annual incomes, and were primarily motivated to participate to build trust. However, a majority of all respondents were similar in not indicating any other social or economic motivations as their primary reason for collaborating. A majority also reported satisfaction with their collaborative— despite not ranking collaborative performance on a number of specific potential outcomes highly. Together, this suggests that collaboration in Oregon is currently perceived as successful despite not achieving many specific outcomes.

Comparing the US National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) with recorded fire occurrence and final fire size

This study seeks to examine the relationships between a set of NFDRS fire danger indices (Fire Danger Ratings, Staffing Level and the Ignition Component) and measures of fire activity (fire occurrence and final fire size) across the entire conterminous US over an 8-year period.

Human presence diminishes the importance of climate in driving fire activity across the US

This analysis relating climate variables to historical fire activity across the United States showed substantial variability in the importance of different seasonal temperature and precipitation variables and of climate overall in explaining fire activity.

Ecosystem restoration: recent advances in theory and practice

View article.

Debate as to whether restoration is feasible is coupled to long-standing disputes regarding the definition of restoration, whether more-damaged lands are worthy of restoration efforts given limited financial resources, and ongoing conflicts as to whether the novel ecosystem concept is a help or a hindrance to restoration efforts.

Germination predictions to inform seeding potential: comparing cheatgrass and potential revegetation species

View study.

Using a wet thermal time model for germination prediction, this study estimated progress toward germination (PTG) of 31 seedlots (10 species) as a function of hourly seedbed temperature (> 0 °C) when soils were above a water potential of −1.5 MPa.

Fire patterns in pinyon and juniper land cover types in the semi-arid West (1984-2013)

View report.

This study evaluated spatio-temporal patterns of fire in piñon and juniper land cover types from the National Gap Analysis Program using Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS 2016) data (1984 through 2013) for Northern and Southern Intermountain and Central and Southern Rocky Mountain geographic regions.

Effects of slope, vegetation, and ground roughness on firefighter escape route mapping

View brief.

The study's key findings: 

  • The use of airborne LiDAR in conjunction with our experimentally-derived understanding of the effects of wildland landscape conditions on travel efficiency stands to greatly improve the efficiency, consistency, and accuracy with which wildland firefighter escape routes can be designated on the ground

Wind erosion of post-fire landscapes

View article.

This paper presents a case study to demonstrate the ability of the modeling framework to capture the onset and dynamics of a post-fire dust event and then use the modeling framework to estimate particulate matter (PM) emissions from burn scars left by wildfires in U.S. western sagebrush landscapes during 2012.

Woody plant encroachment mitigated differentially by fire and herbicide

View article.

This study aimed to quantify a direct treatment to reduce or slow down woodland expansion in an experimental rangeland in central Oklahoma, United States under three treatments: 1) herbicide, 2) fire with herbicide, and 3) control (no fire, no herbicide) within areas classified as “open grassland” in 1979. 

Spatiotemporal evaluation of fuel treatment and previous wildfire effects on suppression costs

View report.

This project quantifies the effects of fuel treatments and previously burned areas on daily fire
management costs, as well as summarizes recent encounter rates between fuel treatments and
wildland fires across the conterminous United States. 

Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning

View study.

Models explained much of the variability between predictions and manual measurements, and yet it is expected that future applications could produce even better results by reducing some of the methodological sources of error that we encountered.

Integrating the sciences to build capacity for an "all lands" approach to forest restoration

View brief.

This study used a team with widely diverse expertise that gathered information from private, state, federal, and tribal landowners about their current forest and fire management practices and then built a computer model that can be used to facilitate collaborative decision making about forest. management in fire-prone environments.

Analysis of the effects of slope, vegetation density, and ground surface roughness on travel rates for wildland firefighter escape route mapping

View paper.

This study compared resultant travel rates to LiDAR-derived estimates of slope, vegetation density and ground surface roughness using linear mixed effects modelling to quantify the relationships between these landscape conditions and travel rates.

Pinyon and juniper encroachment into sagebrush ecosystems impacts distribution and survival of greater sage-grouse

View paper.

Collectively, these results provide clear evidence that local sage-grouse distributions and demographic rates are influenced by pinyon-juniper, especially in habitats with higher primary productivity but relatively low and seemingly benign tree cover.

Pretreatment tree dominance and conifer removal treatments affect plant succession in sagebrush communities

View paper.

This study found that to retain the shrub, especially sagebrush, components on a site and increase ecosystem resilience and resistance through increases in tall grasses, treatment should occur at low to mid tree dominance index (TDI) using mechanical methods, such as cutting or mastication

How to generate and interpret fire characteristics charts for the U.S. fire danger rating system

View report.

The fire characteristics chart is a graphical method of presenting U.S. National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) indexes and components as well as primary surface or crown fire behavior characteristics. Computer software has been developed to produce fire characteristics charts for both fire danger and fire behavior in a format suitable for inclusion in reports and presentations.

SageWest update to the AFWA Sagebrush Executive Oversight Committee

View presentation.

On 12 September 2017, Tony Wasley, Co-Chairman of SageWest and Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and Hannah Ryan, Sagebrush Communications Specialist for Intermountain West Joint Venture, present about SageWest to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Sagebrush Executive Oversight Committee.

Long-term impacts of wildfire on fuel loads, vegetation, and potential fire behavior in sagebrush

View report.

This study showed higher levels of resilience to fire than is typically discussed in the sagebrush steppe, in part because the studied ecosystems were in good condition before the fire, but also because the longer post-fire monitoring time (17 years) may be more appropriate to capture patterns of succession in these ecosystems. 

Wildland fire smoke health effects on wildland firefighters and the public

View report.

This work combines a comprehensive literature review with extensive smoke exposure concentration data for wildland firefighters to estimate health risks specific to wildland fire smoke. First, we conducted a literature review to identify smoke components that present the highest health hazard potential, the mechanisms of their toxicity, and reviewed epidemiological studies to identify the current gaps in knowledge about the health impacts of wildland fire smoke exposure for firefighters and the public. Next, we examined wildland firefighter exposures, explored predictors of smoke exposures to determine factors influencing smoke exposure for wildland firefighters and estimated exposure to air pollutants using carbon monoxide (CO) as an indicator pollutant. Lastly, we estimated disease risk in wildland firefighters for exposure to particulate matter from smoke using firefighter specific breathing rates with existing exposure response relationship information for risk of lung cancer, ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular disease from cigarette smoking, which produces particulate matter with a similar size range. 

Interagency prescribed fire planning and implementation procedures guide

View the guide.

The Interagency Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Procedures Guide establishes national interagency standards for the planning and implementation of prescribed fire. These standards:

  • Describe what is minimally acceptable for prescribed fire planning and implementation.
  • Provide consistent interagency guidance, common terms and definitions, and standardized procedures.
  • Make clear that firefighter and public safety is the first priority.
  • Ensure that risk management is incorporated into all prescribed fire planning and implementation.
  • Support safe, carefully planned, and cost-efficient prescribed fire operations.
  • Support use of prescribed fire to reduce wildfire risk to communities, municipal watersheds and other values, and to benefit, protect, maintain, sustain, and enhance natural and cultural resources.
  • Support use of prescribed fire to restore natural ecological processes and functions, and to achieve land-management objectives.

Prescribed fire complexity rating system guide

View the guide.

This guide establishes interagency prescribed fire complexity analysis standards. The analysis provides a focused, subjective assessment by qualified prescribed fire burn bosses that is evaluated and approved by Agency Administrators, and provides insight and improves understanding of the significant risks associated with prescribed fire. The analysis:

  • Provides decision support that highlights the risk to values associated with prescribed fire implementation.
  • Identifies the technical difficulty (complexity) of managing the risk to values.
  • Informs the complexity rating determination of high, moderate, or low for a prescribed fire.
  • Identifies prescribed fire plan elements that may pose special problems or concerns.

Climate change and wildfire effects in aridland riparian ecosystems: an examination of current and future conditions

View report.

In this report, we review the ecohydrology of southwestern streams and share results from our study sites along the Middle Rio Grande to describe effects of hydrological changes, wildfire, and invasions on plant communities and riparian-nesting birds. We also examine climate change projections and output from population models to gauge the future of aridland riparian ecosystems in an increasingly arid Southwest.

Assessment of aspen ecosystem vulnerability to climate change for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National Forests, Utah

View report.

In this report, literature-based information and expert elicitation are used to define (a) components of sensitivity and exposure to climate change and (b) the capacity of these ecosystems to adapt to expected changes. Aspen ecosystems benefit from fire and quickly reproduce. Yet, aspen trees are susceptible to drought and heat that is projected to become more frequent and intense in the future. Some aspen-associated plant and animal species may benefit from the expected changes in disturbance regimes and stand structure, while others may experience population reductions or stress as a result of drought and heat. Overall, vulnerability is defined as moderate because although persistence of aspen ecosystems is likely, a dynamic spatial and temporal response to climate change is expected.

Using object-based image analysis to conduct high-resolution conifer extraction at regional spatial scales

View report.

For this mapping process across the entire mapping extent, four sets of products are available, including (1) a shapefile representing accuracy results linked to mapping subunits; (2) binary rasters representing conifer presence or absence at a 1 × 1 m resolution; (3) a 30 × 30 m resolution raster representing percentages of conifer canopy cover within each cell from 0 to 100; and (4) 1 × 1 m resolution canopy cover classification rasters derived from a 50-m-radius moving window analysis. The latter two products can be reclassified in a geographic information system (GIS) into user-specified bins to meet different objectives, which include approximations for phases of encroachment. These products complement, and in some cases improve upon, existing conifer maps in the Western United States, and will help facilitate sage-grouse habitat management and sagebrush ecosystem restoration.

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat in Nevada and California— Spatial variation in selection and survival patterns

View report.

This report evaluated the nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat factors that influence selection and survival patterns in the Great Basin using a large dataset of microhabitat characteristics from study areas spanning northern Nevada and a portion of northeastern California from 2009 to 2016. The spatial and temporal coverage of the dataset provided a powerful opportunity to evaluate microhabitat factors important to sage-grouse reproduction, while also considering habitat variation associated with different climatic conditions and areas affected by wildfire. The summary statistics for numerous microhabitat factors, and the strength of their association with sage-grouse habitat selection and survival, are provided in this report to support decisions by land managers, policy-makers, and others with the best-available science in a timely manner.

Hierarchical population monitoring of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and California—Identifying populations for management at the appropriate spatial scale

View report.

This report identified leks and larger scale populations in immediate need of management, based on the occurrence of two criteria: (1) crossing of a destabilizing threshold designed to identify significant rates of population decline at a particular nested scale; and (2) crossing of decoupling thresholds designed to identify rates of population decline at smaller scales that decouple from rates of population change at a larger spatial scale. This approach establishes how declines affected by local disturbances can be separated from those operating at larger scales (for example, broad-scale wildfire and region-wide drought). Given the threshold output from our analysis, this adaptive management framework can be implemented readily and annually to facilitate responsive and effective actions for sage-grouse populations in the Great Basin. The rules of the framework can also be modified to identify populations responding positively to management action or demonstrating strong resilience to disturbance. Similar hierarchical approaches might be beneficial for other species occupying landscapes with heterogeneous disturbance and climatic regimes.

Next-generation restoration for sage-grouse: a framework for visualizing local conifer cuts within a landscape context

View article.

In this paper, optimization models successfully identified areas with low conifer canopy cover, high resilience and resistance to wildfire and annual grass invasion, and high bird abundance to enhance sage-grouse habitat. The inclusion of mesic resources resulted in further prioritization of areas that were closer to such resources, but also identified potential pathways that connected breeding habitats to the late brood-rearing habitats associated with mesic areas. Areas identified by optimization models were largely consistent with and overlapped ongoing conifer removal efforts in the Warner Mountains of south-central Oregon. Land ownership of preferential areas selected by models varied with priority goals and followed general ownership patterns of the region, with public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and private lands being selected the most. The increased availability of landscape-level datasets and assessment tools in sagebrush ecosystems can reduce the time and cost of both planning and implementation of habitat projects involving conifer removal. Most importantly, incorporating these new datasets and tools can supplement expert-based knowledge to maximize benefits to sagebrush and sage-grouse conservation.

Critique of the historical-fire-regime concept in conservation

View article.

In North America, decisions about how and when to apply prescribed fire are typically based on the historical-fire-regime concept (HFRC), which holds that replicating the pattern of fires ignited by lightning or preindustrial humans best promotes native species in fire-prone regions. This study found that the practice of inferring historical fire regimes for entire regions or ecosystems often entails substantial uncertainty and can yield equivocal results; ecological outcomes of fire suppression are complex and may not equate to degradation, depending on the ecosystem and context; and habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and other modern factors can interact with fire to produce novel and in some cases negative ecological outcomes. Although the HFRC is a valuable starting point, it should not be viewed as the sole basis for developing prescribed fire programs. Rather, fire prescriptions should also account for other specific, measurable ecological parameters on a case-by-case basis. 

Preparing a community wildfire protection plan: a guide

View guide.

In 2004, the Communities Committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress, Society of American Foresters, National Association of Counties, and the National Association of State Foresters sponsored and developed a handbook entitled Preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. (Communities Committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress; Society of American Foresters; National Association of Counties; National Association of State Foresters, 2004) This guide is intended to supplement that handbook, with special considerations for local fire service leaders in communities identified as at-risk of wildfire. While adjacency to public lands (forests, brushlands and grasslands) can impact wildfire risk, there are ways to impact and reduce wildfire risk from within the community as well. This includes a focus on local codes and ordinances, home ignition zones, defensible space, ignition-resistant construction and design standards, as well as hazardous fuels reduction in parks, common-owned areas, and open spaces within the local jurisdiction. 

Fire severity impacts winter snowpack

View research brief.

Fire is a strong driver of changes in montane forest structure in California’s Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade mountain ranges, which provide much of the snowpack and associated water storage for the state of California. A recent study by Stevens presented one of the first direct investigations in California of how fire can influence snowpack depth.

Defining wildland firefighter safety and survival zone separation distances

View article.

The significant variables for the fatal injury model were fire shelter use, slope steepness and flame height. The separation distances needed to ensure no more than a 1 or 5% probability of fatal injury, without the use of a fire shelter, for slopes less than 25% were 20 to 50 m for flame heights less than 10 m, and 1 to 4 times the flame height for flames taller than 10 m. The non-fatal injury model significant variables were fire shelter use, vehicle use and fuel type. At the 1 and 5% probability thresholds for a non-fatal injury, without the use of a fire shelter, the separation distances were 1 to 2, 6 to 7, and 12 to 16 times greater than the current safety zone guideline (i.e. 4 times the flame height) for timber, brush and grass fuel types respectively.

Computational study of the interactions of three adjacent burning shrubs subjected to wind

View article.

The burnout time for upstream shrubs increased with an increase in shrub separation distance for all shrub sizes and wind speeds considered. The burnout time for the downstream shrub was found to decrease with an increase in the separation distance, reach a minimum, and then increase with an increase in separation distance. The trends observed in burnout times for downstream shrub were attributed to the balance between heat feedback into the downstream shrub from the flames in upstream shrubs and availability of sufficient oxygen for combustion to take place.

Fuel characteristics, temporal dynamics, and fire behavior of masticated mixed-conifer fuel beds

View report

This study found that:

  • Few changes in most of the measured masticated fuel bed properties were detected over the 10 years represented in the sample. This indicates that in dry environments, it may take at least 10 years for ecological processes to change fuel characteristics enough for adverse fire effects to be mitigated.
  • Burning masticated fuel beds in a laboratory revealed that there is a great deal of heat that is pulsed into the soil that could cause major mortality to belowground systems. This is especially true in high loading fuel beds with duff layers present.
  • All masticated fuel beds dried to equilibrium in less than seven days, indication that these quickly drying fuels can be readily susceptible to smoldering combustion after 5-7 days of drying.
  • Existing fuel models (including 11, SB1, SB2 and two existing custom fuel models) were good at representing fire behavior, indicating that there is no need to develop new, custom fuel models for masticated fuel beds. 

Do fuel reduction treatments cause beetle mortality or resilience?

View research brief.

This study examined bark beetle mortality for two-years after fuel reduction treatment in mid-elevation mixed conifer forests at the University of California Blodgett Research Forest. As part of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study, the experimental treatments included prescribed fire (fire), mastication, the combination of the two, and a control.

Influence of climate and environment on post-fire recovery of mountain big sagebrush

View article.

This study investigated the relative importance of site productivity and seasonal climate in explaining the variance in recovery time for 36 fires, comprising a fire chrono-sequence (from 1971 to 2007) for the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. A. t. vaseyana recovery was positively related to precipitation in the cool season immediately following fire, likely because deep soil-water recharge that persists throughout the growing season enhances first-year seedling survival. Percentage sand fraction positively correlated with recovery rate yet negatively correlated with live cover in unburnt stands. Our data support the hypothesis that post-fire recovery rate of A. t. vaseyana depends on the climatically controlled ephemerality of the regeneration niche, as is likely true for many arid-land shrub species.

Restoring whitebark pine ecosystems in the face of climate change

View report.

In this report, guidelines are presented for restoring whitebark pine under future climates using the rangewide restoration strategy structure. The information to create the guidelines came from two sources: (1) a comprehensive review of the literature and (2) a modeling experiment that simulated various climate change, management, and fire exclusion scenarios. The general guidelines presented here are to be used with the rangewide strategy to address climate change impacts for planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating fine-scale restoration activities for whitebark pine by public land management agencies.

Removal of perennial herbaceous species affects response of cold desert scrublands to fire

View article.

Results show that loss of perennial herbaceous species, which can result from inappropriate livestock grazing, and loss of shrubs, which often results from fire, interact to affect key functional groups. The implications are that ecosystem resilience to disturbance in Cold Desert shrublands decreases when competition from perennial native grasses and forbs for available resources no longer prevents dominance by A. tridentata and other shrubs and/ or annual invasive grasses. Managing livestock grazing to maintain or increase perennial herbaceous species, especially deep-rooted grasses, which contribute to resilience along elevation gradients, can help prevent threshold crossings to undesirable states and retain critical ecosystem services following disturbances such as wildfire.

Post-fire vegetation response at the woodland-shrubland interface is mediated by the pre-fire community

View article.

Among sites with low-to-moderate tree cover, burning largely eliminated differences in understory composition, suggesting that biotic legacies were sufficient to result in predictable trajectories. In contrast, sites with high pre-fire tree cover transitioned into an annual forb-dominated community with sparse vegetation cover, suggesting that the loss of the understory community initiated unpredictable and divergent post-fire trajectories. Because plant communities were still changing four years after fire, it is unclear whether the alternate trajectories in sites with high tree cover will result in the formation of alternate states, or whether community composition will eventually converge with other sites at the same elevation. Results indicate that careful evaluation of site characteristics can be used to predict treatment outcomes at the woodland-shrubland interface, and to guide the appropriate use of prescribed fire or other management practices.

Population genetic structure of Bromus tectorum in the mountains of western North America

View article.

The wide geographic distribution of several common haplotypes almost completely restricted to montane habitats suggests that dominant lineages in montane populations may possess adaptive syndromes that are preserved through reduced outcrossing rates or negative selection on outcrossed progeny. However, conclusive evidence of such local adaptation requires reciprocal seeding experiments and further characterization of adaptive traits and breeding system characteristics. Other lineages have likely risen to dominance in montane populations through selectively neutral processes.

Managing climate change risks in rangeland systems

View chapter.

A risk framework for adaptation could integrate key vulnerabilities, risk, and hazards, and facilitate development of adaptation actions that address the entire socio-ecological system. Adaptation plans will need to be developed and implemented with recognition of future uncertainty that necessitates an iterative implementation process as new experience and information accumulate. Developing the skills to manage with uncertainty may be a singularly important strategy that landowners, managers, and scientists require to develop adaptive capacity.

Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

View article.

Wildfires across western North America have increased in number and size over the past three decades, and this trend will continue in response to further warming. As a consequence, the wildland–urban interface is projected to experience substantially higher risk of climate-driven fires in the coming decades. Key aspects of an adaptive resilience approach are (i) recognizing that fuels reduction cannot alter regional wildfire trends; (ii) targeting fuels reduction to increase adaptation by some ecosystems and residential communities to more frequent fire; (iii) actively managing more wild and prescribed fires with a range of severities; and (iv) incentivizing and planning residential development to withstand inevitable wildfire. These strategies represent a shift in policy and management from restoring ecosystems based on historical baselines to adapting to changing fire regimes and from unsustainable defense of the wildland–urban interface to developing fire-adapted communities. 

Telling fire's story through narrative and art - Fire Science Digest

View digest.

Using unconventional means—and with partial funding by the Joint Fire Science Program—creative individuals have spawned some colorful and heartfelt messages that convey insightful information about wildland fire, climate, and other elements of nature to an increasingly receptive public. Recent narrative works by well-known authors, such as Stephen J. Pyne, and creative art pieces by well-established and emerging artists have helped depict fire in a new light to audiences that scientists may rarely reach. This issue of Fire Science Digest describes recent books funded by the Joint Fire Science Program and other sources that focus on fire’s ecological role in various regions of the U.S. and on associated fire management issues and events.

Towards improving wildland firefighter situational awareness through daily fire behaviour risk assessments in the US Northern Rockies and Northern Great Basin

View article.

This paper presents a simple framework for relating fire danger indices to observed categorical wildland fire behaviour. Ordinal logistic regressions are used to model the probabilities of five distinct fire behaviour categories that are then combined with a safety-based weight function to calculate a Fire Behaviour Risk rating that can plotted over time and spatially mapped. Development and use across three adjacent US National Forests is demonstrated, and predicted fire behaviour risk ratings are compared with observed variations in satellite-measured fire radiative power. This approach transforms fire weather conditions into simple and actionable fire behaviour risk metrics that wildland firefighters can use to support decisions that meet required objectives and keep people safe.

Interagency Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Guide - PMS 515

View guide.

The Interagency Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Guide standardizes the processes and procedures for interagency use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including pilot inspections and approvals. In support of fire management goals and objectives, the aviation community references these standards to utilize UAS in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. This guide further serves as a risk assessment for fire UAS operations and meets federal requirements for aviation safety and operational planning pertaining to recurring aviation missions. Agency level policy and guidance is provided through established federal or state plans and processes.

Updating LANDFIRE fuel data assists local planning efforts

View report.

The LANDFIRE program provides a data safety net by producing biannually updated fuels products for all-lands in the United States. But even these data are two to three years old when they are delivered, and while they provide a good starting point, they are designed for national and regional level application. Local review and calibration is recommended to ensure that the data are suitable for smaller landscapes. An example from Idaho illustrates how adjusting LANDFIRE fuel data can ensure that current, accurate fuel information is ready to support fire and land management activities. 

Western Governors' National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative - Special report June 2017

View report.

The goals of the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative are to:

  • Examine existing forest and rangeland management authorities and programs to determine their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Perform a detailed investigation of the role of collaboratives in landscape restoration;
  • Create a mechanism for states and land managers to share best practices, case studies and policy options for forest and rangeland management; and
  • Recommend improved forest and rangeland management authorities and encourage more effective collaboration.

This report outlines the launch year of the Initiative and includes both administrative and legislative recommendations.  

Bringing healthy sagebrush communities full circle

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through its Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), is there to empower ranchers to make well-balanced improvements on their ranching operations that are good for wildlife living in sagebrush country, as well as their business’s bottom line.

To highlight the effectiveness and on-going success of this multi-faceted working lands approach, they've introduced the “Healthy Sagebrush Communities” websitestory map, and poster.

Fire Science Exchange Network - Fostering information flow

View brief.

The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire Science Exchange Network is a national collaboration of 15 regional fire science exchanges that provides the most relevant, current wildland fire science information to federal, state, local, tribal, and private stakeholders within ecologically similar regions. The network brings fire managers, practitioners, and scientists together to address regional fire management needs and challenges.

Factors influencing federal and non-federal collaboration with reducing wildland fire risk

View report and highlights.

Conditions such as dense vegetation and drought have resulted in more severe wildland fires in recent years, and some communities are experiencing the devastating effects of these fires. Federal agencies can collaborate with nonfederal stakeholders to reduce the risk of wildland fires. This is a key aspect of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The Government Accountability Office recommends that federal agencies work with the Wildland Fire Leadership Council—which provides oversight and leadership for the strategy—to develop measures to assess progress toward achieving the strategy’s goals.

Conservation Efforts Database: improving knowledge of landscape conservation actions

View fact sheet.

The CONSERVATION EFFORTS DATABASE (CED) was codeveloped by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GNLCC):

  • USFWS provided a comprehensive ecological assessment separated by threats and efforts, and database structure based on user needs.
  • USGS provided database and website design expertise building off of the Land Treatment Digital Library.
  • GNLCC provided ecological, database, and GIS expertise, greatly enhancing CED capabilities.

Many state and federal partners provided input and feedback, ranging from design recommendations to policy sideboards, ensuring the CED has broad applicability and interoperability

Approaches for modeling in landscape genetics through landscape-directed dispersal simulations

View article

Researchers developed landscape-directed dispersal simulations and tested a series of replicates that emulate independent empirical datasets for greater sage-grouse and eastern foxsnake. The study helps establish methods for using liner mixed models to identify the features underlying patterns of dispersal across a variety of landscapes.

 

Monitoring protocols: options, approaches, implementation, benefits

View chapter.

This chapter reviews some of the conceptual and technological advancements and provide examples of how they have influenced rangeland monitoring. It then discuss implications of these developments for rangeland management and highlight what are seen as challenges and opportunities for implementing effective rangeland monitoring. It concludes with a vision for how monitoring can contribute to rangeland information needs in the future.

Bringing healthy sagebrush communities full circle

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through its Sage Grouse Initiative, works to empower ranchers to make well-balanced improvements on their ranching operations that are good for wildlife living in sagebrush country, as well as their business’ bottom line.

To highlight the effectiveness and on-going success of this multi-faceted working lands approach, they've developed a “Healthy Sagebrush Communities” webpage, story map, and poster.   

Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming basins

This book adds to current knowledge about the regional status of the sagebrush ecosystem, the distribution of habitats, the threats to the ecosystem, and the influence of threats and habitat conditions on occurrence and abundance of sagebrush associated fauna and flora in the Wyoming Basins.