BpS - What We Did, What You Did, Why It Matters


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LANDFIRE produced and delivered state-and-transition models for every ecosystem (Biophysical Settings, or BpS) mapped by the program over more than a decade. The models and descriptions combined offer information about vegetation dynamics, structure, and composition on lands across the U.S. prior to Euro-American settlement. Not only are the models and descriptions important internally to the LANDFIRE program, they are used across the nation in a spectacular array of applications and landscapes.

In late 2015, The Nature Conservancy's LF team began updating and improving the Biophysical Settings (BpS) model set.

Two phases of the project have been completed, with the third phase on track for delivery  in autumn of 2019.



*     Cleaning: the models were moved from the VDDT format to ST-Sim, unmapped and duplicate models were removed, and a user-friendly description document was developed.

*     Updating: 8700+ BpS description documents were downloaded from the review site by local and regional experts, representing more than 95% of all BpS mapped by LF across the Continental US, Alaska and Hawai'i. More than 75% of all BpS were downloaded five or more times, and some more than 50 different times. These downloads increased user knowledge about LF and BpS, and ultimately generated several hundred local reviews for the TNC-LF Team to consider incorporating in the finals.

*     Delivery: Late 2019. The models will support the LF 2015 Remap.


In 2016, the team hosted a year of webinars that reached nearly 800 practitioner-attendees across the country with targeted information about the review and its implications for their regions and nationally. Those webinars were recorded and are available in the "archive" section of the LANDFIRE YouTube Channel. In addition, team members Jim Smith, Randy Swaty, and Kori Blankenship offered one-on-one workshops and customized presentations through the year – and will continue to do so going forward. Ask us about it.


The quantitative models document the fundamental ecology of vegetation systems and help us understand complex ecological processes and relationships. They provide a shared understanding among collaborators, and offer a framework for designing and exploring alternative approaches to achieve management. The ultimate goal is that, by employing the best available science, land planners and ecologists are better able to make informed decisions and perform relevant research. 

BpS review/macro review and update is an ongoing project. Click here for more information and join the effort to improve LANDFIRE data and products.

As always, contact us if you want more informationabout BpS and/or if you'd like TNC-LANDFIRE team to present a customized webinar for you and your colleagues.