After wildfires, resource managers on national forests often prepare Natural Resource Damage Assessments that quantify the impacts of the wildfire on natural resources and the ecosystem services they provide. SoCal EcoServe, a new, web-based mapping tool, has been developed to help resource managers on the Los Padres, San Bernardino, Cleveland, and Angeles National Forests with these assessments.
The tool quantifies and maps pre- and postfire ecosystem services for the shrubland-dominated national forests in southern California. It compiles modeled spatial data relating to water supply and flood control (hydrological runoff, groundwater recharge, and sediment export), carbon storage, biodiversity and recreation. Wildfire impacts are included through the integration of the USDA Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response assessment data or Landsat TM imagery acquired immediately postfire. The tool also provides estimates of biomass recovery postfire and can contribute to the identification of priorities for postfire restoration.
The four national forests will soon be able to use a beta version of the tool to assess the effects of the 2020 wildfires, as well as historic fires, on the forests’ ability to provide ecosystem services for the roughly 24 million residents of southern California. The tool will help researchers and land managers better understand the affects and subsequent recovery of ecosystem services postfire, as well as establish guidelines for quantifying costs associated with damages to natural resources resulting from wildfires.