International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

Implementation of mid-scale fire regime condition class mapping

Louis Provencher A C , Jeff Campbell B and Jan Nachlinger A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The Nature Conservancy, 1 East First Street, Suite 1007, Reno, NV 89509, USA.

B Spatial Solutions, Inc., 60575 Billadeau Road, Bend, OR 97702, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email:

International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(3) 390-406
Submitted: 31 May 2007  Accepted: 18 December 2007   Published: 23 June 2008


We used mid-scale Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) mapping to provide Hawthorne Army Depot in the Mount Grant area of Nevada, USA, with data layers to plan fuels restoration projects to meet resource management goals. FRCC mapping computes an index of the departure of existing conditions from the natural range of variability, and consists of five primary steps: (1) mapping the Potential Natural Vegetation Types (PNVT) based on interpretation of a soil survey; (2) refining PNVTs based on additional information; (3) modelling the natural range of variability (NRV) per PNVT; (4) using field verification, calculation and mapping of departure of current distribution of structural vegetation classes interpreted by remote sensing (IKONOS 4-m resolution satellite imagery) from the NRV; and (5) mapping structural vegetation classes that differ from reference conditions. Pinyon–juniper and mountain mahogany woodlands were found within the NRV, whereas departure increased from moderate for low and big sagebrush PNVTs and mixed desert shrub to high for riparian mountain meadow. Several PNVTs showed departures that were close to FRCC class limits. The common recommendation to reach the NRV was to decrease the percentage of late-development closed and cheatgrass-dominant classes, thus increasing the percentage of early and mid-development classes.

Additional keywords: DOD, fire management, Great Basin, LANDFIRE, Nevada, pinyon–juniper, rangeland, sagebrush, soil survey, state-and-transition, woodland.


Research was funded by the USDA Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and The Nature Conservancy’s ‘Restoring Fire Adapted Ecosystems’ cooperative agreement (No. 02-CA-11132543–037) and the Department of Defence, Legacy Resource Management Program (No. DACA87–00-H-0002). Brian McMenamy and Mike Polly provided GIS assistance, and Ayn Shlisky supplied riparian VDDT models. We are especially grateful to Jim Purrell and John Peterson from Hawthorne Army Depot for support, logistic help, and participation, and to Ayn Shlisky, Doug Zollner, and Lynn Decker from TNC’s Global Fire Initiative. Ayn Shlisky, Doug Zollner, Kelly Pohl, Andrea Litt, and two anonymous reviewers generously reviewed earlier drafts of the manuscript. Mention of a proprietary product does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the Department of Defence or the authors and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of the other products that also may be suitable.


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