Gradient modeling: a new approach to fire modeling and wilderness resource management
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): S. R. Kessell
Publication Year: 1976

Cataloging Information

  • computer programs
  • disturbance
  • erosion
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • fuel accumulation
  • fuel moisture
  • land use planning
  • litter
  • logging
  • microclimate
  • moisture
  • Montana
  • multiple resource management
  • national parks
  • photography
  • post fire recovery
  • prairies
  • savannas
  • species diversity
  • stand characteristics
  • statistical analysis
  • succession
  • Thuja plicata
  • topography
  • Tsuga heterophylla
  • tundra
  • wilderness areas
  • wilderness fire management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38422
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13025
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Managers of wilderness resources must maintain, preserve, and sometimes restore pristine ecosystems while providing for public use and enjoyment of these areas. These managers require a resource information system that can store, retrieve and integrate basic data, synthesize components to solve particular problems, and provide simulations and predictions of natural processes and management actions. Traditional information systems based on land classification and type-mapping do not provide these capabilities. Gradient modeling, a new approach to resource management and forest fire simulation, has been developed to meet these needs in Glacier National Park. The method links four major components (1) a terrstrial site inventory coded from aerial photographs that offers 10-m resolution (2) gradient models of vegetation and fuel that derive quantitative stand compositional data from the parameters stored in the coded inventory, (3) a fuel moisture and microclimate model that extrapolates base-station weather data to remote sites using the parameters stored in the inventory; and (4) fire behavior and fire ecology models that integrate the data from the inventory and models to calculate real-time fire behavior and ecological succession following a fire.

Kessell, S. R. 1976. Gradient modeling: a new approach to fire modeling and wilderness resource management. Environmental Management, v. 1, no. 1, p. 39-48.