About the BpS Review

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Why review LANDFIRE Biophysical Settings (BpS) models and descriptions?

LANDFIRE Vegetation Models and descriptions are not only an important product on their own, but model attributes are now attributes of the BpS layers and thus have a DIRECT impact on the spatial products as well. There has been no comprehensive review of the LANDFIRE National models and descriptions set since their original delivery from 2005 through 2009, only sporadic, ad hoc, inconsistent review based upon immediate opportunity. Since then, errors and inconsistencies have been discovered, and missing information identified. There is reason to believe that supporting science may have improved. Thus, the time is right to review and potentially revise LANDFIRE National BpS models and descriptions. Leading the review process is The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) LANDFIRE team.

What are the goals of the BpS model/description review?

We are undertaking BpS review in order to improve the quality, usefulness and acceptance of the LANDFIRE BpS vegetation model set. Ways to do that include

  • locating and correcting obvious errors or information mismatches;
  • appropriately “reducing” the model set by grouping/collapsing models that are identical, or nearly identical in both model parameters and model description;
  • improving the consistency of Succession Class definitions, either by fixing the rule set or changing the way Succession Class rules are defined;
  • incorporating new science/new information;
  • ensuring that metadata is appropriate and complete, and
  • improving model accessibility.

What can be reviewed and what are the review constraints?

  • Participants may review model parameters and/or model descriptions, but we encourage both.
  • Reviewers should understand that they are providing suggestions for improvement. While all comments and suggestions will be documented and made available to the public, all suggestions may not be incorporated into the new models or descriptions. The decision on what to include rests with the TNC LANDFIRE Team and individuals whom we contact.
  • The original LANDFIRE modeling rules will continue to be the standard while review is underway (details in the Review section of the website).
  • We are also asking for new information.
    • If the reviewer has additional ancillary information on related topics such as climate change impacts on BpS models and descriptions, known BpS mapping issues, invasive species and other uncharacteristic conditions, we will accept that information (details on how to provide that information are in the Review section of the website).
    • We will also accept comments on “information confidence,” and welcome knowledge about non-fire disturbances.
    • In addition, we are soliciting feedback on how models “fit together” over landscape gradients, such as across elevations, aspects, latitudes, etc.

How will the review be conducted?

The primary vehicle for the BpS review is this website. Users can examine and download whatever is needed for the review here including instructions on how to contact the TNC LANDFIRE Team and how to submit comments. The website will be promoted through professional networks and communications outlets. We encourage people to pass the information along to colleagues, partners or acquaintances who might be interested in contributing to the review, and who have relevant experience and knowledge.

To augment the website, and to obtain substantial content review of all BpS models and descriptions, we will also

  • identify and consider products of other local, regional or national projects or organizations that could contribute to BpS improvement, or be “linked” to BpS, such as local projects that have modified models for local application, TNC’s Conserving the Stage projects, Fire Effects Information System, Integrated Landscape Assessment Project, Apex RMS and the NRCS Ecological Site Description Program;
  • set up webinars/conference calls with key reviewers when appropriate, and when travel is not necessary;
  • occasionally make on-site visits to meet with a key reviewers who are willing to participate and who require our direct assistance; and
  • organize opportunistic workshops/meetings at regional meetings where a critical mass of reviewers is likely to be present.

The models will always be available for review. To have your review considered for the next official version of LANDFIRE BpS Models and Descriptions the review should be submitted to landfire@tnc.org by June 30, 2016.