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Laurel L. James
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire & Traditional Knowledge
Fuel Treatments & Effects
Fuels Inventory & Monitoring
Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna

NRFSN number: 13486
FRAMES RCS number: 16824
Record updated:

A modified Fuel Characteristic and Classification System (FCCS) fuelbed was created for the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of Montana. This crosswalk of data combined two principal sources of data: (1) locally the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Continuous Forest Inventory Data (CFI) and (2) nationally the US Forest Service (USFS) datasets associated with Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Project (LANDFIRE). These two data sets were chosen for various reasons. Initially, these two data sources were used as the foundation for a geospatial assessment that was completed as part of the UW-IGERT (Cohort 2), Bioresource based Energy for Sustainable Societies program. That project constituted the first step in the development of this thesis. LANDFIRE was a tool that the Forestry and Fire Management programs of the CSKT were familiar with. and, in addition, this tool provides a nationally consistent high resolution (30m) coverage that is compatible with other USFS fire and management tools. Therefore, LANDFIRE allowed for modifying the FCCS database to incorporate the local and site-specific data of CSKT. This benefit affords an opportunity for future adjustments that will produce finer scale data more appropriate for the management of reservation lands. During the development of the modified FCCS fuelbed, careful attention was made to incorporate existing landscape management plans and management schemes thus creating a hierarchical framework that would better capture site-specific fuelbed characteristics. The steps associated with the development of the modified fuelbed are summarized by the following steps: Seral Cluster Fire Regime Landscape = Modified Fuelbed The first step involves extracting Seral Cluster information from the tribal data sets, then combining fire regime information from both the Forest Service and Tribal Classifications. Landscape designations were also incorporated into the final datasets. This synthesized assessment is a first of its kind in terms of a crosswalk of data for a tribal nation that links information between the US Forest Service, an organization with the US Department of Agriculture and the BIA, an organization within the Department of Interior. This project was completed in consultation with CSKT tribal forestry staff and received full CSKT Tribal Council approval. The modified fuelbeds that have been created as a result of this research will serve a dual purpose. Locally, it will establish a database that will enable the utilization of nationally available fire and fuels modeling tools for use at the landscape level. Nationally, this modification will assist the tribe in updating and correcting the mapping conducted under National LANDFIRE. This mapping and the associated fuelbeds were accepted by the BIA and implemented on all reservation. A major consequence is that all fire and fuels funding allocations are now based upon this mapping system.


James, Laurel Lynn. 2012. National to local: a pre & post assessment of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) landscape variables for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Master of Science. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, College of the Environment, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. 64 p.

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