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Land status

Wooden swing in the wildland urban interface.
Wooden swing in the wildland urban interface.


Ecosystems and watersheds

Air, soil, and water 

System drivers

Baseline carbon

Plants and animals

Socioeconomic conditions
Ecosystem services
Multiple use
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Tribal importance
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Land status
Designated areas

In order to engage in landscape-scale management, planners must understand the complex relationships of land status, ownership, use, and access. These publications and tools include valuable information regarding land status. They can be used as a starting point in planning assessment, and should be supplemented by information specific to the individual planning unit.

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Land status


Spatial Patterns of Land Cover in the United States: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment

Applicability: This part of the 2010 RPA Assessment provides land use and land cover data for national and regional scales. County data is given visually in the included national maps.

Author: Kurt H. Riitters

Publication Number: SRS-GTR-136

Year: 2011

Summary: Land cover patterns inventoried from a national land cover map provide information about the landscape context and fragmentation of the Nation's forests, grasslands, and shrublands. This inventory is required to quantify, map, and evaluate the capacities of landscapes to provide ecological goods and services sustainably. This report documents the procedures to inventory and summarize land cover composition, juxtaposition, and structure as exhibited at several measurement scales. National and regional results are summarized in tabular form, and representative statistics are illustrated in figures (for States) and maps (for counties). The baseline information in this inventory is a starting point for future analyses of landscape changes.

Scope / Scale: National and regional information and trends, with county data visually represented.


Wildfire, wildlands, and people: understanding and preparing for wildfire in the wildland-urban interface a Forests on the Edge report

Applicability: This publication looks at ownership from the context of WUI and fire-adapted communities. It includes national maps of fire regimes and the WUI, and discusses changes in land ownership and increases in housing density near forests. It also includes information regarding education and outreach.

Authors: Stein, S.M.; Menakis, J.; Carr, M.A.; Comas, S.J.; Stewart, S.I.; Cleveland, H.; Bramwell, L.; Radeloff, V.C.

Publication Number: GTR-299

Year: 2013

Summary: Fire has historically played a fundamental ecological role in many of America's wildland areas. However, the rising number of homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), associated impacts on lives and property from wildfire, and escalating costs of wildfire management have led to an urgent need for communities to become "fire-adapted." We present maps of the conterminous United States that illustrate historical natural fire regimes, the wildland-urban interface, and the number and location of structures burned since 1999. We outline a sampler of actions, programs, and community planning and development options to help decrease the risks of and damages from wildfire.

Scope / Scale: National scope, including information regarding communication with stakeholders.


Economic Profile System - Human Dimensions Toolkit

Applicability: Developed by Headwaters Economics and approved for agency use, this tool generates 14 different reports which give useable data regarding economic conditions and trends. It does not take much time to learn how to use, which is a plus. Reports can be done at the county level, including combining multiple counties, which makes it applicable at the planning scale. One report includes land ownership status and cover. The USFS site for it has a presentation on how to use it as part of the planning rule assessment

Summary: EPS-HDT (Economic Profile System - Human Dimensions Toolkit) is a free, easy-to-use software application that runs as an Excel Add-in from your desktop, and produces detailed socioeconomic reports of counties, states, and regions, including custom aggregations. For more information on specific socioeconomic reports and how to install follow the link above. EPS-HDT uses published statistics from federal data sources, including the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Bureau of Labor Statisitics, U.S. Department of Labor; and others. The databases are updated every year so that EPS-HDT uses the latest published statistics.

Scope / Scale: Reports can be generated at county, state, and regional scales.


Family Forest Owners of the United States, 2006

Applicability: This publication includes extensive data and maps at the state level which can be downloaded in a zip file. It is useful in analyzing land ownership and use for forests not on USFS lands.

Author: Butler, Brett J.

Publication Number: NRS-GTR-27

Year: 2008

Summary: This report summarizes results from the U.S. Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey of the estimated 10 million family forest owners who own 264 million acres (35 percent) of forest land in the United States. We collected information between 2002 and 2006 on family forest owners' forest holding characteristics, ownership histories, ownership objectives, forest uses, forest management practices, preferred methods for receiving information, concerns, future intentions, and demographics. National, regional, and state summary tables are included.

Scope / Scale: State level data and maps


Forecasts of county-level land uses under three future scenarios: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment

Applicability: This part of the 2010 RPA Assessment gives scenario-based projections that are useful as planning tools. It looks not just at current conditions but also future projections at a county level.

Author: Wear, David N.

Publication Number: SRS-GTR-141

Year: 2011

Summary: Accurately forecasting future forest conditions and the implications for ecosystem services depends on understanding land use dynamics. In support of the 2010 Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, we forecast changes in land uses for the coterminous United States in response to three scenarios. Our land use models forecast urbanization in response to the population and economic projections defined by the scenarios and consequences for various rural land uses. Urban area is forecasted to expand by 1 to 1.4 million acres per year between 1997 and 2060. Forest area is forecasted to decline by 24 to 37 million acres and cropland is forecasted to decline by 19 to 28 million acres over this period. About 90 percent of forecasted forest land losses are found in the Eastern United States with more than half in the South.

Scope / Scale: County level, along with national and regional trends.


2010 RPA Land-use data

Applicability: Land-use data at the county level supporting SRS-GTR-141.

Year: 2010

Summary: County-level data from the RPA in Excel format.

Scope / Scale: County level, along with national and regional trends.


Landscape -- A defined area irrespective of ownership or other artificial boundaries, such as a spatial mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, landforms, and plant communities, repeated in similar form throughout such a defined area.

**Except where noted, definitions are taken from §219.19 "Definitions" of the 2012 Planning Rule.