October 25, 2023

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

Authors: M. A. Day, A. A. Ager, R. Houtman and C. R. Evers

Year: 2023

Journal: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Abstract: The ForSys spatial planning system was developed by US Forest Service Research and Development to modernize agency tools to prioritize forest and fuel management investments and understand tradeoffs among alternative scenarios.  ForSys uses inputs on objectives, management restrictions, constraints, and treatment thresholds to organize stands into planning areas that are optimized for one or more objectives. The model has been used in five different countries resulting in published case studies at scales ranging from watersheds to the continental United States, and multiple Federal records of decisions and environmental management documents. Most recently ForSys was used as the analytical tool to identify priority firesheds in the 2022 Wildfire Crisis Strategy, and to downscale priorities to field units as part of implementation. In this paper we describe the ForSys model and then review selected case studies where the model was applied to a wide range of land management problems. We discuss the overall science findings, management implications, and future development with external technology partners as part of broader application of the model to optimize investments in landscape restoration and risk reduction.





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