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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND Title: New technologies for modeling fire and disturbed conditions in forest and rangelands

Authors
item Elliott, William -
item Robichaud, Peter -
item Pierson, Frederick
item Moffet, Corey

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 2008
Publication Date: February 8, 2009
Citation: Elliott, W.J., Robichaud, P.R., Pierson Jr, F.B., Moffet, C.A. 2009. New Technologies for Modeling Fire and Disturbed Conditions in Forest and Rangelands. In: Proceedings of the 62nd Annual Meeting, Merging Trails: Culture, Science, and Innovation, Society for Range Management, February 8-12,2009, Albuquerque, NM.

Interpretive Summary: Historically, considerable resources have been invested in methods to predict erosion on agricultural lands. Technologies developed for agricultural conditions tended to focus on long term average annual erosion rates from sites that are tilled annually, or regularly as part of some rotation. Technologies developed for these conditions were then applied to forests and rangelands. We do not believe this is appropriate. On forests and rangelands, erosion rates are generally low, and only in the presence of disturbances do they increase. Disturbances include grazing, fire, access corridors and in forests, logging. A suite of applications to address these conditions have been developed for the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. These applications include templates for rangelands and forests for the WEPP windows and GeoWEPP applications. Online applications specifically targeting range and forest management have also been developed which are easy to use and scientifically defensible. One interface includes an annual return period analysis to aid in evaluating the immediate impact of a disturbance. Another interface specifically developed for post fire analysis predicts probabilities of erosion for single events, rather than annual averages. Worksheets to aid in appropriate applications of these tools have also been developed. The presentation will give an overview of these tools, and provide some validation data from recent studies.

Technical Abstract: Historically, considerable resources have been invested in methods to predict erosion on agricultural lands. Technologies developed for agricultural conditions tended to focus on long term average annual erosion rates from sites that are tilled annually, or regularly as part of some rotation. Technologies developed for these conditions were then applied to forests and rangelands. We do not believe this is appropriate. On forests and rangelands, erosion rates are generally low, and only in the presence of disturbances do they increase. Disturbances include grazing, fire, access corridors and in forests, logging. A suite of applications to address these conditions have been developed for the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. These applications include templates for rangelands and forests for the WEPP windows and GeoWEPP applications. Online applications specifically targeting range and forest management have also been developed which are easy to use and scientifically defensible. One interface includes an annual return period analysis to aid in evaluating the immediate impact of a disturbance. Another interface specifically developed for post fire analysis predicts probabilities of erosion for single events, rather than annual averages. Worksheets to aid in appropriate applications of these tools have also been developed. The presentation will give an overview of these tools, and provide some validation data from recent studies.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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