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WWETAC Focus Area: Landscapes

SoCal EcoServe – Post-fire ecosystem services assessment tool

The USFS PSW funded a four-year interdisciplinary study on ecosystem services in southern California which involved spatial modelers, hydrologists, and economists from academia (UC Davis, Michigan State University), the USFS (R5 Ecology Program, R5 Remote Sensing Lab, GTAC, WWETAC), and other agencies (USGS California Water Science Center, Cal Fire and the National Park Service) sought to enhance understanding of the chaparral shrublands that dominate the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests. The project developed spatial data and economic values for six ecosystem services and estimated how these services change after fire: water runoff, carbon storage, biodiversity, groundwater recharge, sediment erosion retention and recreation.

A key output of this project is a web-based tool (SoCal EcoServe, left) that allows USFS resource managers to access data on the six services pre-fire, how these services change post-fire, and (available to specific users) the economic value associated with this change in service provision. The tool is intended to help resource managers estimate the environmental impacts of fire which can contribute to Natural Resource Damage Assessments and can assist in the prioritization of restoration activities by identifying areas of high service provision within the fire perimeter. Check out the SoCal EcoServe home page. Initial tool development was conducted by GTAC under a GEOTASC grant and WWETAC has funded extended tool development. WWETAC developed multivariate random forest models to estimate above ground live biomass in southern California across temporal scales - a key component for SoCal EcoServe.