Location: Great Basin Rangelands ResearchTitle: Fire rehabilitation decisions at landscape scales: utilizing state-and-transition models developed through disturbance response grouping of ecological sites
|STRINGHAM, TAMZEN - University Of Nevada|
|NOVAK-ECHENIQUE, PATTI - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)|
|SNYDER, DEVON - University Of Nevada|
|PETERSON, SARAH - Bureau Of Land Management|
Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/6/2016
Publication Date: 12/19/2016
Citation: Stringham, T.K., Novak-Echenique, P., Snyder, D.K., Peterson, S., Snyder, K.A. 2016. Fire rehabilitation decisions at landscape scales: utilizing state-and-transition models developed through disturbance response grouping of ecological sites. Rangelands. 38(6):371-378.
Interpretive Summary: This was an invited manuscript in a Special Issue of Rangelands to discuss how Ecological Site Descriptions can be grouped into larger Disturbance Response Groups within Major Land Resource Areas to develop tools for land managers at relevant spatial scales. These concepts were used to develop immediately available maps for the BLM that were used as decision tools for fire rehabilitation for two fires that occurred in 2016. Additionally, recommendations for future improvements in soil mapping tools were provided.
Technical Abstract: Recognizing the utility of ecological sites and the associated state-and-transition model (STM) for decision support, the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada partnered with Nevada NRCS and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) in 2009 with the goal of creating a team that could (1) expedite development of scientifically sound STMs and (2) provide a mechanism for utilizing STMs for decision support at scales larger than the individual ecological site. The team of scientists, professional land managers, consultants, and interested stakeholders developed a process that examines local knowledge, soil mapping data and published literature on soils, plant ecology, plant response to various disturbances, disturbance history of the area, and any other important attributes necessary to sort pre-existing ecological sites into groups of ecological sites based on their responses to natural or human-induced disturbances. These groups are referred to as Disturbance Response Groups (DRGs) and are defined as groups of ecological sites that respond similarly to disturbance, reaching the same state or end-point although the rate of adjustment may vary by site. This process is applied at the Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) scale with the entire MLRA being considered during the grouping effort. MLRAs are geographically associated land resource units made up of multiple ecological sites. By focusing on an entire MLRA during the DRG process STM development is expedited by filtering a large number of ecological sites into a smaller set for modeling purposes that are geographically associated. For example, MLRA 28B and MLRA 28A in Nevada, when combined, represent 176 individual upland ecological sites, however through the DRG process the 176 sites were filtered into 38 groups. These concepts were used to develop immediately available maps for the BLM that were used as decision tools for fire rehabilitation for two fires that occurred in 2016.