Prioritizing investments in forest and fuel management projects and measuring outcomes is a significant challenge for large, decentralized agencies like the Forest Service. Over the past decade, numerous assessments of land conditions in terms of fuels, fire risk, watershed health, and terrestrial conditions have been completed. However, models or tools to integrate these assessments into prioritization strategies and measure outcomes do not exist. The need for prioritization tools continues to grow as the agency is increasingly challenged to meet management targets while producing a wide range of ecosystem services, in coordination with partner agencies as specified in Shared Stewardship agreements.
The USDA Forest Service Scenario Investment Planning Platform was developed by Forest Service Research & Development to help the agency modernize its approach to prioritizing land management investments. This system can model spatially explicit management scenarios across scales ranging from projects, forests, regions, states, and nationwide. The framework can be coupled with other models and management assessments and applied to a wide range of scenarios. The core of the scenario platform is the ForSys model, a versatile planning model that evolved over a decade of research on operational forest and fuel management problems at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
For more information, case studies, and publications, see the Scenario Investment Planning Platform StoryMap here.