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Individual Highlight

SoCal EcoServe: A Tool for Visualizing and Quantifying Impacts of Fire on Ecosystem Services in Southern California

Photo of A meadow of wildflowers in Los Padres National Forest, California.A meadow of wildflowers in Los Padres National Forest, California.Snapshot : A beta version of the SoCal EcoServe tool will soon be available for the Los Padres, San Bernardino, Cleveland, and Angeles National Forests to help assess effects of 2020 wildfires and prepare postfire Natural Resource Damage Assessments. This tool provides a repeatable and transparent framework for quantifying the change in ecosystem services and their values associated with damage to natural resources on national forest lands.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Schrader-Patton, Charlie 
Research Location : California: Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland, and San Bernardino National Forests
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2020
Highlight ID : 1651

Summary

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.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Pacific Southwest Region
  • Cal Fire
  • GTAC
  • Michigan State University
  • National Park Service
  • USGS California Water Science Center
  • University of California-Davis