What is LANDFIRE?
LANDFIRE is a collaborative, 5-year partnership involving the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior and The Nature Conservancy. Launched in 2004 and designed to be nationally consistent, locally relevant, and based on peer-reviewed scientific methods, the project is generating landscape-scale maps and data describing vegetation, fire, and fuels characteristics across the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).
LANDFIRE National products comprise a set of 20+ digital maps of vegetation composition and structure, wildland fuel (crown and surface), simulated historical fire regimes, and current departure from simulated landfire layers and historical vegetation conditions.
LANDFIRE National procedures integrate relational databases, remote sensing, systems ecology, gradient modeling, and landscape simulation to create consistent and comprehensive products that are standardized across the entire United States. LANDFIRE is currently delivering national products on an incremental basis through 2009.
LANDFIRE vegetation map units are derived from NatureServe’s Ecological Systems classification, which is a nationally consistent set of mid-scale ecological units developed for the coterminous United States (Comer et al 2003) and Alaska (NatureServe and AKNHP 2008). Existing vegetation is mapped through a predictive modeling approach using a combination of field reference information, Landsat imagery, and spatially explicit biophysical gradient data. Field data keyed to dominant vegetation type at the plot level were used as “training data” to drive the modeling process. Attribute information is provided that links the LANDFIRE vegetation map units to existing classifications such as the National Vegetation Classification System and those of the Society of American Foresters and Society of Range Management.