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Crowdsourcing for Conservation: LANDFIRE BpS Review


Calling all biologists, ecologists, and experts who know "your landscape" like your own back yard
LANDFIRE is soliciting expert reviews of its pre-European settlement Biophysical Settings models and descriptions to add your knowledge to this important encyclopedia of ecosystems. 
We know that a broad spectrum of practitioners -- land managers, fire ecologists, vegetation ecologists, academics, on-the-ground managers -- are ideally suited to contribute to the review, which is why LANDFIRE is asking a favor of you ... one that could mean your having more fun in an hour than should be allowed on work time while participating in a key data update. Even if you don't "do" data.
Who? What?
LANDFIRE -- Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools -- is an innovative program designed to create and periodically update comprehensive vegetation, fire and fuel characteristics data using a consistent process for the United States, including Alaska and Hawai'i.  LANDFIRE produced and delivered state-and-transition models and descriptions for every major ecological system  (Biophysical Settings, or BpS) mapped by the program between 2005 and 2009 – information about vegetation dynamics, structure, and composition on lands across the U.S. prior to Euro-American settlement.
Those data have aged, better information is out there, and we know you have it!
We are now reviewing BpS models and descriptions - the first complete update since they were delivered. The Nature Conservancy’s LANDFIRE team is heading up the project. Here’s where LCC network members come in.  
Join up!
Because LANDFIRE is committed to a collaborative process, incorporating the knowledge and experience of experts in fields of vegetation and fire ecology is critical.  We’re asking you to join the review process and draw on your experience and knowledge to refine this “encyclopedia of ecosystems.” You know your landscapes better than anyone; help us refine the models and descriptions so that others can benefit from your expert edits.
Why does the BpS review matter?
LANDFIRE BpS maps and models help us understand complex ecological processes and relationships, and provide a framework for exploring management actions. The tools provide context for historical and current conditions, and by employing the best available science, land planners, vegetation ecologists, and others involved in large land management are better able to make informed decisions and perform relevant research. 
How hard is it? An hour of reading and thinking
The BpS review entails reading and commenting on a 4-to-10 page MS-Word document (and optionally a 5-box state-and-transition model) at your convenience and in your office. The dedicated BpS Review website contains all the information needed to complete the review and to provide comments to TNC’s LANDFIRE team. 
Our commitment
We will consider every review received before June 30, 2016 for incorporation into the next version of the BpS models and descriptions, currently targeted for release in early 2017. Don’t wait until the deadline, however, so that the team has sufficient time to digest all the comments. That said, we accept suggestions for improving BpS models and descriptions at any time.
Applications “beyond fire”
These tools can be -- and are -- applied across the U.S. on large landscapes, regardless of ownership boundaries, whether federal, state, regional or local. Continuous, consistent data helps various stake-holders work together, run “real-time” scenarios, and develop projects and programs using shared frames of reference.
Land management activities reach “beyond fire,” and LANDFIRE vegetation tools have been used in a vast array of situations, including
·       Developing statewide forest assessments
·       Analyzing the impact of habitat fragmentation on bobcat populations
·       Looking at how climate change could affect flora and fauna
·       Maintaining habitat for viable populations of bighorn sheep
·       Establishing cougar population viability 
·       and many more
Start reviewing!
Please visit the BpS review websiteshare what you know, and pass this request to others who can provide their expertise as well.
To stay up-to-date on LANDFIRE news and product releases, subscribe to the bi-monthly BulletinContact Jeannie Patton or anyone on the TNC team any time via email at