The ForSys Research Consortium

The ForSys Research Consortium brings together researchers, practitioners, and educators with the need for scenario modeling tools for a wide range of land management planning problems.

Collaborators
FORSYS

How ForSys Helps

Prioritizing and planning investments in restoration and risk reduction is a significant challenge for land managers globally. Tools are needed that can translate natural hazard threat assessments into spatially-explicit prioritization strategies and action plans that predict outcomes, analyze decision tradeoffs, and support planning analyses required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The ForSys Planning Platform was developed by US Forest Service Research and Development to provide a robust analytical framework for simulating management scenarios and measuring outcomes and tradeoffs at a range of scales.

Model values

ForSys Uses

Spatial optimization of treatments

Explore landscape management scenarios optimized for multiple objectives to maximize returns from restoration and risk reduction investments.

Generate five-year action plans

Identify the type and area of restoration treatments required to meet restoration goals as part of longer term action plans.

Prioritize prescribed fire

Schedule the backlog of areas needing prescribed fire to optimize logistics and project design parameters.

Strategic containment

Prioritize fuel break network treatments into manageable project areas that meet operational and administrative constraints and prioritize investments over time to maximize fire management outcomes.

Cross-boundary scenario planning

Expand the restoration footprint by identifying cross-boundary projects that are optimized for multiple management objectives consistent with the goals of individual landowners.

Tradeoff analysis

Explore multiple restoration priorities to understand management tradeoffs and whether compromise solutions exist. 

CASE STUDIES

Case Studies

ForSys was developed as part of research on landscape management planning and spatial optimization over the last 15 years.  The model has been used in multiple countries and over 25 published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental US. Management scenarios developed with the model have been incorporated into multiple planning documents including state forest action plans, environmental impact statements, and environmental assessments.

Prioritization to Support the Development of an Environmental Impact Statement and Records of Decision

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Cross-boundary Scenario Planning for Shared Stewardship

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Prioritizing the Construction of Fuel Break Networks

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Testimonials

John Doe
CEO

ForSys is the result of more than 10 years of research to advance scenario planning and prioritization. The model has been used in five different countries and 27 published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental US. Application of the model has led to management decisions on the ground

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Martina Corona
CTO

Model has been used in five different countries and 27 published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental US. Application of the model has led to management decisions on the ground.

Go To Case Study
John Doe
CEO

ForSys is the result of more than 10 years of research to advance scenario planning and prioritization. The model has been used in five different countries and 27 published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental US. Application of the model has led to management decisions on the ground

Go To Case Study
Martina Corona
CTO

Model has been used in five different countries and 27 published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental US. Application of the model has led to management decisions on the ground.

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Vicky Christiansen
US Forest Service Chief, Retired

The Scenario Investment Planning Platform provided the Forest Service with tools to identify cross-boundary management priorities as part of the shared stewardship initiative. Scenario planning tools are an essential part of building consensus among landowners as a way to expand the restoration footprint to achieve desired outcomes on the ground.

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Jason Kuiken
Forest Supervisor

Landscape management has been the ideal for decades yet was very difficult to conceptualize until now. Through ForSys, we can plan and act at scales that will create resilient ecosystems for myriad species to inhabit, and for communities to remain vibrant.

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John Phipps
US Forest Service Deputy Chief, Retired

The ForSys Model and its accompanying Scenario Investment Planning Platform played a pivotal role in the formulation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy. It equipped Forest Service leadership with the essential spatial blueprint needed to both initiate the project and secure the requisite funding. Beyond this achievement, ForSys holds vast potential for myriad other applications within the agency, particularly in the realms of strategic planning and policy formulation.

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John Battles
Professor of Forest Ecology

UC Berkeley’s class in Forest Ecosystem Management and Planning featured the application of the ForSys Scenario Planning Model. The primary learning outcome of the class was to have student teams develop Regional Priority Treatment Plans that met the goals set by California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force. This real-world planning exercise required students to wrestle with the necessary trade-offs involved in prioritizing treatments across the landscape. With the help of the ForSys development team, the class learned how to implement the latest Windows version of the ForSys module. The ability of the software to optimize treatment goals and project spatially explicit treatment plans enabled student groups to evaluate the efficacy of multiple scenarios. The ensuing debates helped students work through the difficult task of balancing competing goals to produce plans that delivered a mix of ecosystem services that best met local needs. UC Berkeley plans to continue its educational partnership with the ForSys team as part of its efforts to provide the next generation of forest planners with tools able to inform landscape scale treatment plans.

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Laura McCarthy
State Forester

We used the ForSys model in the state of New Mexico to identify the highest priority areas for forest restoration in our state. The visual display of specific opportunities for multi-objective and cross-boundary management made it easy to communicate to stakeholders and policy makers, and the entire analysis was included in the State Forest Action Plan Appendix. We found this analytical approach allowed for a more collaborative process when determining resource priorities and identifying priority landscapes.

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Ana Barros
Wildfire Scientist

We used ForSys to prioritize portions of Potential Control Lines (PCLs) across eastern Washington; typically roads, rivers and ridgelines identified by fire managers as likely locations for fire control. We used ForSys to rank segments of PCLs that have a greater benefit for fire managers, given their proximity to highly valued resources and fire likelihood. This ranking can be used by managers to prioritize on-the-ground assessments outside of the fire season to determine whether fuel treatments are needed and during the fire season as part of incident management planning.

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Fermín Alcasena

The prioritization of fire risk reduction treatments in Mediterranean regions poses a significant challenge for managers and stakeholders. Our studies show how ForSys can be used to analyze colocation opportunities between competing objectives, and results such as fuel treatment maps can be readily translated into management projects. Integrating environmental and operational restrictions with this tool is a straightforward process.

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Michele Salis
Italian National Research Council

ForSys allowed us to take into account spatial treatment priorities, treatment thresholds, and activity constraints, and to identify optimal fuel treatment locations. Our work confirmed the potential of ForSys in informing wildfire prevention and land management strategies and providing useful data and maps to forest and land managers.

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SOFTWARE

Start Using ForSys

ForSys is designed to help managers create spatial prioritization plans that meet predefined goals and targets while considering constraints to achieve them. The model was developed with an emphasis for wide application by non-technical users, and thus optimization is accomplished with a relatively simple greedy spatial heuristic instead of more complicated mathematical programming approaches used in many other planning systems. ForSys was developed for multiple platforms including windows desktop (ForSysX) and in R (ForSysR).

Learn

Recent Updates

Prioritization to Support the Development of an Environmental Impact Statement and Records of Decision

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/treesearch/67187

Optimizing the implementation of a forest fuel break network

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Prioritizing restoration and risk reduction landscape projects with the ForSys planning system

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Multi-objective scheduling of fuel treatments to implement a linear fuel break network

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Designing forest restoration projects to optimize the application of broadcast burning

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Contrasting the efficiency of landscape versus community protection fuel treatment strategies to reduce wildfire exposure and risk

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