USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Monitoring desired conditions for vegetation and wildlife habitat: An independent test of proposed indicators for monitoring vegetation in the Lake Tahoe basin

Principal Investigators:
David Saah, Spatial Informatics Group, LLC
Pat Manley, USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station
Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, Spatial Informatics Group, LLC
Qi Chen, Spatial Informatics Group, LLC
Timothy Robards, Spatial Informatics Group, LLC
Shelly Cole, Spatial Informatics Group, LLC
Angela White, USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station

Proposal [pdf]

Final Report [pdf]

Spatial Informatics Group website

Please contact Dr. David Saah with questions regarding the final report.

Project Summary

The objective of this study was to help managers identify methods and meaningful indicators for upland habitat ecological condition in accordance with vegetation desired conditions identified as part of Tahoe’s Pathway planning process and per a draft "Healthy Vegetation and Hazardous Fuels Desired Condition Monitoring and Evaluation Plan" (Greenberg and Dobrowski 2009).

The draft monitoring plan identified indicators to characterize vegetation conditions relative to desired conditions as:

  1. Landscape extent of forest/non-forest types
  2. Forest structural class
  3. Ecological condition of non-forested lands (e.g., meadows)
  4. Total burned area
  5. Area treated in wildland urban interface that meet flame length standards
  6. Percent of private and public parcels in urban areas that meet defensible space prescription.

Absent from the list of indicators was indicator(s) to assess wildlife habitat conditions. We tested the ability of the proposed vegetation indicators to also represent change in probability of wildlife habitat occurrence. Remote sensing and in-situ field sampling were proposed methods to generate indicator values and as such were reviewed to determine their implementation efficacy for monitoring program managers.