FRAMES > Topics > Fire History > IMPD Decision Support Tool

    International Multiproxy Paleofire Database: Decision Support

    www.frames.gov/firehistory/impddst

    Decision Support for Defining Historical Fire Regimes

    Altered fire regimes and associated changes in fuels and vegetation structure pose risks to biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems, and economic and community interests. Development of vegetation and fire management plans requires knowledge of historical fire regime parameters (e.g., frequency, severity) and this knowledge can only be derived from fire history data. The International Multiproxy Paleofire Database (IMPD) is a unique source of fire history information from tree-ring and sediment-charcoal based paleofire records, managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Paleoclimatology Branch. The goal of this project has been to work in collaboration with our partners in the U.S. Forest Service and NOAA to find the best way to deliver the IMPD information to the vegetation and fire management community in the State of Arizona and in other western states, tailored to their needs and capabilities.

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    Please contact esutherland@fs.fed.us with any questions or comments about this project.

    Bibliographical Map Tool

    The Bibliographical Map Tool is a prototype that shows the locations of fire history sites in Arizona, and links them with their associated bibliographic references. This Google map presentation is intended to be used as a geography-based source of information on published and unpublished fire history papers and reports. This tool is intended for use by land and fire managers, researchers, and the interested public. For example, fire managers preparing plans for National Forests or National Parks must locate and integrate available information on fire history for the management unit they are working in. The fire history information for sites, watersheds, mountain ranges, etc. is used to identify the natural, historical role of fire. This information provides guidance and justification for prescribed fire or ecological restoration actions. Although many fire history studies have been carried out in the United States and elsewhere, managers and researchers do not have efficient tools for identifying or accessing published and unpublished reports that describe these fire histories.

    Launch the Bibliographic Map Tool

    The prototype Arizona fire history bibliographical tool we have developed serves to illustrate the potential of this kind of information access. The tool shows map locations of 15 tree-ring/fire scar study sites in Arizona. Clicking on the map points with the mouse brings up the site name and a hyperlinked number which directs the user to the available bibliographic information. For the state of Arizona there are actually more than 50 fire-scar based fire history studies; for the greater Southwest there are more than 120, and for the Western United States there are at least 300 studies. Additionally, there are many more fire history studies based upon sedimentary charcoal in lakes, bogs, soils, etc. A fully implemented tool would include all sites and studies, both tree ring and sedimentary charcoal-based (at least for Arizona or the Southwest). Moreover, in addition to the bibliographic references, pdf files of all published and unpublished reports could be hyperlinked from the tool. This would be especially valuable for managers who don't often have full access to library or online journal sources. Although unpublished reports are of less credibility that peer-reviewed papers, they nevertheless can provide useful information, and scanning these reports into pdfs and making them available would be a great service to managers, researchers and the public. There would be copyright issues for some of the published papers, but at the least, hyperlinks to publisher web sites and the specific article and abstract that can be purchased would be possible for these instances.

    Please contact esutherland@fs.fed.us with any questions or comments about this project.

    This material is based upon works supported by the Science Foundation Arizona under Grant No. CAA 0080-07. Additional support for this project came from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.