User Guide

Learn how to use the Planscape Application

Planscape User Guide

Overview

Planscape is a wildfire resilience planning support and collaboration tool to help you plan and prioritize landscape fire resilience treatments by leveraging the latest data and climate models.

Understanding the ecosystems of very large wilderness landscapes is challenging. Planning where to place treatments on those large landscapes takes a tremendous amount of time, staff and money. Even just finding accurate data to understand the state of the land – where have there been fires in the last 10 years, what’s the mean FRID, how many acres comprise endangered species territory – can be very complex. The goal of Planscape is to provide landscape-scale planners:

  • Access to the best available data from the Regional Resource Kits
  • Ability to determine, based on the project goals, the best areas on the land to place treatments.

For landscape analysis backend, Planscape uses the ForSys planning tool, developed by the USDA Forest Service.

Using Planscape, a landscape planner can determine the most effective areas to plan treatments on a given landscape, based on their inputs and criteria. The tool makes it easy to run multiple scenarios with a variety of inputs to determine the most effective treatment areas.

Pillars of Resilience

  • Planscape uses the following ten Pillars of Resilience to organize and visualize the Regional Resource Kit elements and metrics data:
  • Air quality
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Economic diversity
  • Fire dynamics
  • Fire adapted communities
  • Forest resilience
  • Social & cultural well being
  • Water security
  • Wetland integrity

To learn more, see Framework For Resilience Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative. Also, to learn about the metrics, see the following metric dictionaries:

Regional Resource Kits

The Regional Resource Kits (RRK) contain a core set of data layers that reflect management-relevant metrics for the Sierra Nevada region. These datasets and metrics are vetted by federal, state, and academic scientists. To learn more about science that supports that task force, see the Science Advisory Panel.

Planscape uses these RRK data layers to visualize map views based on the options you choose. To learn more, see Sierra Nevada, Southern California, Northern California or Central Coast Regional Resource Kits.

Planscape allows you to view all of the RRK data in the way you want to view them. You can either draw a planning area or upload a share file to show relevant data layers underlying the view of the planning area that you have defined in the plan. Understanding the state of the land is critical to do accurate planning. Planscape makes it simple to view all the relevant data layers in your project on the maps.

You will use the RRK data to create plans and scenarios.

  • Plans – View a specific location on the map, apply different data layers to clearly identify the area that meets your treatment planning requirements and draw or upload a shape file to create the planning area. Each planning area can include multiple scenarios. 
  • Scenarios –  Scenarios allow you to identify a set of variables in your planning area that will determine the best areas to apply treatments (project areas). Planscape helps you create scenarios that identify the best places to treat for issues such as reducing the risk of high severity fire, protecting the Wildland User Interface or areas with carbon sinks. This is an iterative step, but with Planscape’s simple user interface and fast computation, it’s easy for you to build a set of scenarios that can help to hone in on the best areas for treatment.

Project Areas – Project Areas are the land areas defined by the treatment goals and constraints set in your scenario. Using ForSys, the tool auto generates up to 10 project areas per scenario, based on your treatment goals and constraints. The project areas are ranked according to how well they match your treatment goals.

Planscape Application

Planscape is a free, open source web based software application, built on tools and data provided by state and federal governments.

This version of Planscape gives you an opportunity to explore data sets on maps for all of California, and allows you to do planning to identify optimal treatment areas across the state.

At a high level, you will use Planscape to perform the following tasks:

 

Planscape tasks
When you launch Planscape, you are considered as a Guest User. You can explore the maps as a guest user. When you want to create and save plans and scenarios, you will need to create a Planscape Account.

Map Views

The map view gives you the flexibility to choose three different map layouts. You can choose to display a 1-, 2- or 4-map view on the screen by selecting one of the Map Views options.
Two maps view
Figure 1: Two maps view
4-maps-view
Figure 2: Four maps showing four different perspectives for same area

When you are looking at a specific area in the map, you can: 

  • Visualize up to four different perspectives for the same area to explore the conditions by choosing different options
  • Click on a specific map (or the map label in the left panel) to select which map is active. Changing options in the left panel will only update the active map
  • View the legend that is specific to each map and understand the colors on the map
  • Use the plus (+) and (-) icons on the map or mouse scroll click function to zoom in and out of these maps to view your selection better
  • If you have chosen Recent Treatment Areas for a map, you can hover over a specific area for more detail.
  • Tooltips are available for more information
  • You have a transparency controller to adjust the opacity of the data layer for all conditions

Note: The zoom function is coordinated between the maps you are viewing to give you the ability to focus on a spot to get different perspectives for planning fire resilience treatments.

Using the map controls on the left pane, you can change the base map and boundary layers. 

  • Basemaps – The default option displays Roads. Select one of the other options to change the view.
  • Boundaries – The boundary layers are the predefined boundaries based on the data Planscape receives from different data sources. By default, the option is set to None. Select different options to change the map view.

 

Caution:  From Boundaries, if you select one of the HUC options, Prescribed burns, along with Recent Treatment Areas > Existing Projects in all four maps, the tool will have to handle very large datasets that may slow down the tool’s performance.

  • Recent Treatment Areas – This data is sourced from CalMapper. When you are in the recent treatment areas, you can view a pop-up card that shows details of the project if they are populated in the database. 
  • Current Conditions – The data ranges for these options are in different data units, which is the raw data unit for each metric type. These can only be viewed at the individual metric level.  The overall Current Condition data is represented based on data from 2021, organized by each Pillar of Resilience. You can click Current Conditions to view the data.
    • The map legend shows the color range and data units.
    • The icon layers provide more information into the data provider & source. You can click learn more to view the data dictionary of the data you are looking at. It gives how the data was collected and what the data you are viewing means.

 

If the map is slow to load, use one of the following two recommended options to improve loading time:

      • Turn off Existing projects, HUC-12 boundary, Prescribed Burns boundary, and Fires boundary. These layers use more computer memory, so loading time will improve with these options turned off.
      • Switch to the One Map view – the leftmost icon above the map tabs on the panel
      • Use built-in map zoon tools rather than mouse scroll to zoom.

 

Exploring Maps

You can use the options on the left pane to visualize different boundaries and data sets on the maps. Based on the options you choose, the application uses data sets from the RRKs to display different layers on the maps. 

  1. You can click the following icons to view respective responses as explained below:

Opens user guide & release notesquestion mark icon

information icon

Information about the specific page or dialog box you are in.

zoom-tools

You can use the Plus to zoom in or the minus sign to zoom out of a map.

You can see the Start Planning: Draw Area or Upload Area options. Choosing either of these options will enable you to start planning treatment areas.  To draw or upload an area shape file, you will first need to create a user account.

Account Management

When you launch Planscape for the first time using the web link app.planscape.com, Planscape considers you as a guest user.

 

As a guest user, you can:

  • Explore data from the Regional Resource Kits
  • View publicly available plans and scenarios*

 

*Accessible only via direct links.

When you create a Planscape account, you will have access to the complete capabilities of the application. 

As a logged in user with an user account, you can:

  • Create plans, scenarios and project areas
  • Test different land management options and view outcomes
  • Save planning areas
  • Download shapefiles and metadata from your plans

 

Creating a User Account

A Planscape user account is required for you to use the treatment area planning capabilities.

To create a user account:

1. You can use the Plus to zoom in or the minus sign to zoom out of a map.

create-account
Fig3: Link to create an account on Home page.

You can also click on Sign In on the menu bar.

2. In the Create your account page, enter your First name, Last name, a valid email address, enter a password, and repeat the same password in the Confirm password field.

 

Note: You must make sure the passwords in Create password and Confirm password fields match to see the blue Create Account button become visible.

3. Click Create Account. This action sends an email to the email ID you have added to the account. You will see the message below:

account confirmation
Fig4: Confirmation that the registration went successfully.

4. Check your email inbox. You should see an email similar to the one below:

account email
Fig5: Sample of validation email in your inbox.
5. Click the link to validate your email. This takes you to the Sign in to Planscape screen. Enter your email and password to log into Planscape.

Note: if you don’t receive a validation email, please check your spam folder.

After creating your user account, you can edit your information or deactivate your user account at any time.

Editing a User Account

After creating your user account, you can edit your information or deactivate your user account at any time.

To edit your user personal information:

  1. Click user user name on the top right corner of the screen to display the drop down options and click Account.
  2. In the Edit Personal Information page, edit the information you want to and click Save.

Deactivating a User Account

Planscape gives you an option to deactivate your account. Deactivating your account deactivates your plans from the application as well. Deactivation is not deleting the account. So if you ever want to reactivate your account, reach out to the Planscape team.

Planning Treatment Areas

Helping you determine the best locations for land treatment in your area of interest is the core capability of Planscape. This version of Planscape will help you to identify the best areas to treat depending on your requirements. At this time Planscape does not provide recommended treatment types. Recommended treatment type capability will be coming in future releases.

The planning capabilities of Planscape are built on top of ForSys, which is an open source tool developed by the USDA Forest Service. ForSys has been in use for years by the Forest Service to determine the most optimal treatment areas for any given project. Our goal with Planscape is to simplify the use of ForSys, and make it easier for people to get started with planning.

Creating New Plans

You can create a new plan by doing one of the following:

  • Drawing a polygon to select your area of interest
  • Uploading a shape file
 

When you are creating a new plan, you should first review the areas you are interested in on the map view. For example, if you are interested in running a scenario on High Severity Fire, it’s helpful to review the High Severity Fire RRK data, as well as other fire severity related data, to understand if there are viable areas for treatment within your area of interest. To review the data on the landscape:

  • Use the four map view to display different RRK data for the same area
  • Overlay different data point options in the same map to view the area from different perspectives. Overlaying past fires or current fire reduction projects on your map view can help better understand what is on your landscape.
 

Reviewing the data displayed in the maps helps you to identify your treatment planning area that meets the criteria you are looking to treat on the maps

Note: It’s helpful to think about Plans and Scenarios as folders and files. A Plan acts like a folder, in which you can place all your Scenarios for this planning area. In the top navigation, you can jump from scenarios to plans the same way you navigate file folders. In the example below, you can click on “nyack to foresthill” to go back to the scenario listing page, and “Planning Areas” to return to the Plan home page.

plan-area
Planning Areas

Creating a New Plan by Drawing a Polygon

To draw a new plan:

1. In the Planning Area/New Plan page, on the left navigation pane, select the type of Basemaps, Boundaries, Recent Treatment Areas, and Regional Resource Kit Data options you want to display in the maps. Note that for planning reasons, it’s useful to show the Fires/Prescribed Burn areas so that you are not trying to plan treatment areas that have recently burned.

2. Click inside the map you want to select and draw an area and click Draw Area. If you are in a multiple map view, clicking Draw Area shows the map you selected on the right map view panel.

draw area
Fig6: Blue outline on the selected map.
3. Mouse over to the area you want to select and click. Follow the directions on the screen to complete the drawing. Note: When you have selected the area you want, click on the starting point to complete the drawing.
Drawing of a new area
Fig7: Drawing of a new area.

4. Click Done. This opens the Name your plan dialog box on the screen.

5. Give a name to the plan and click Save. This takes you to the Plan page. You can view the details of the area you have selected and add notes for your later reference.

Note: It’s important to note the size of the planning area that you have created. When drawing a polygon, it’s very easy to create a planning area that is larger in acreage than you may want or need. Additionally, when you start creating scenarios, it’s important to remember the size of your planning area, as the scenario acreage needs to be between 20 and 80% of your overall planning area. For example, if your planning area is 100,000 acres, your scenario acreage needs to be between 20,000 and 80,000 acres. The minimum planning area size is 100 acres.

You can create scenarios for your plans from this page. As you create new scenarios for your planning area, they will show up here.

Creating a New Plan by Uploading a Shapefile

New plan page.
Fig8: New plan page.

In many instances you will have an existing shapefile for your area of interest. You can use your existing Shapefile to create a new plan. The Shapefiles must be a .zip file.

1.In the PlanningArea/New Plan page, inside the ma[s, click the Upload Area button. This action prompts to select a file to upload.

Upload a Shape Fil
Fig9: Upload a Shape File.

2. Browse to the file location and select your .zip file.

3. Your Shape file will be displayed in your mapview.
You can switch to the 4-map view and change the underlying map layers to better understand what is happening on the land in your planning area.

4. After reviewing the maps, select Done. This prompts you to name your planning area.

After naming and saving your planning area, you will be taken to the home page for that Plan, see Figure 8. You will be able to start creating scenarios for your planning area.

Creating a New Scenario

You can create multiple scenarios for each planning area. Each scenario can only have one treatment goal, and the variables per scenario are also very likely to change.

To create a new scenario:

1. On the Planning areas page, click one of your plans that you want to create a scenario for and click Scenarios from the lower right corner of the screen. You can also double-click on the planning area to get to the scenarios.

new scenario
Fig10: Your plans page.

2. Click New Scenario. The Planning Areas / <your plan name> / New Scenario page opens and shows the map view panel your planning area.

Create scenario
Fig11: Create scenario

In the left pane, enter a name for your scenario and select options for the following based on your treatment goals:

  • Name your Scenario –  When you name your scenario, it is recommended to include treatment type/acreage/stand size to make sure you can find specific information easily among multiple scenarios. For example: HiSev, 100k, Med to represent a scenario comprised of High Severity Fire Areas, 100K acres and Medium stand size.
  • Treatment Goals – You can select only one treatment goal per scenario. Select one treatment goal from the options. Note, the treatment goals are different for each region.
Treatment Goals
Fig12: Treatment Goals
  • Constraints –  You can choose either Max acres to be treated or Max budget as one of your constraints per scenario.

Note: The max areas to be treated must be between 20% and 80% of your total planning area acreage.

  • The default treatment cost is $2470/acre, derived from the RRKs. You can modify it. If you know your treatment type and cost, you can enter the cost directly.
  • You can enter your maximum slope and distance from roads. Note that the more constraints that you input, the fewer acres the tool can identify for treatment. For initial scenarios, you may want to input only one of these variables.
  • You can choose from small, medium or large stand sizes. Large stand size is the default, however small stand sizes are more accurate. However, if you have a very large planning area you may want to start with Large or Medium stands and scale down from there.

Note: The stand sizes represent the number of acres per stand. Small stand size equates to 10 acres/stand, Medium stand size is 100 acres/stand, and Large equates to 500 acres/stand.

Scenario Constraints
Fig13: Scenario Constraints
  • Exclude Areas – If you want to exclude any of the six listed areas from your scenario, select them. You can choose more than one exclusion, although the more you exclude, the less land that Planscape will be able to identify for treatment. Choosing too many exclusions will increase the likelihood that your scenario may fail due to a lack of available land to treat. 
Exclude Areas
Fig14: Exclude Areas

4. Click Generate. This will give you the results of your query on the Results page.

  • The map shows a maximum of 10 numbered areas. These numbers on the project area listing correspond to the numbers for each project area and are listed in priority from 1-10, based on effectiveness. You can see the information for each project area – acreage, cost and ranking in terms of how effective it will be in achieving the goal you chose on the configuration page. 
  • Below the Project area listing, you’ll see a number of graphs. These correspond to the metrics that are impacted by the scenario that is run. Note the numbers on the X axis correspond to the project areas.
  • If you click on the down arrow on the right, it will show you additional metrics that can be displayed.
  • If you click on the map icon on the left, it will bring up the map of that metric layer, from the regional resource kit, overlaid by the project areas. This is useful for additional data analysis.
Scenario with results
Fig15: Scenario with results

Note: if your scenario fails, it is likely because there are too many constraints applied. Constraints reduce the amount of available land on which the project areas can be identified. To reduce failure events, ensure that you set the maximum available acreage, limit constraints and exclusion areas. If your scenario continues to fail, eliminate all constraints and then add them back in iteratively. It can be challenging to identify which constraint is causing the failure. We recommend running all biodiversity questions, and the “Reduce Fire Risk to the WUI” question with ‘small’ stand size selected. 

You can save the metrics output as a .csv file for input into Excel or Google Sheets for further analysis. You can also print or save the map as a shape file.

You can create multiple scenarios for your plan

To create another scenario:

1. Click either on the back arrow button in the header, or the name of your plan. This will take you back to the New Scenario page. You can see the list of all the scenarios you have created on this page.

Options
Fig16: Options to back to create New Scenario

2. Similar to the Plan home page, you can either double click on a scenario or click the view button to bring that scenario back into view. If you have scenarios that have either failed or that you don’t need, you can also delete them from this page.

List of scenarios
Fig17: List of scenarios

Understanding Project Areas

Project areas are derived from the treatment goal and constraints such as budget, acreage, distance from roads, exclusion areas, and stand size you define for a scenario. The project areas are numbered sequentially, with #1 always being the highest ranked treatment area.
Project areas
Fig18: Project areas

In Figure 17 above, the score column lists the score derived by the calculation behind the treatment goal question, combined with the available acreage and stand size. It’s important to understand what has gone into the formula to derive these outputs. For more information, see How ForSys Supports Deriving Treatment Questions.

 

Different treatment goals will generate different project areas within a planning area. For example, determining where to best treat the land to prevent high severity fire may have very different results from determining where to best treat to protect spotted owl habitat. This is why it’s important to run multiple different scenarios per planning area to understand the optimal treatment areas for different needs. Also note that the treatment goal questions are different based on the region in which you are doing your planning, based on the ecology of regions. Some treatment goals may not be applicable to all regions.

 

Total available acreage is another important variable in determining project areas. If you run a budget constrained scenario, it’s likely that you will have fewer project areas. For larger available acreage, it’s likely that more project areas will be identified.

 

Stand size has a high impact on the project areas. Selecting a small stand size will provide the most granular and accurate output, however for large planning areas (>50K acres) this can take a long time to run. We recommend performing the initial scenario runs with medium or large stand sizes to test the outputs, and when the variables are set, then do the run selecting the small stand size. Small stand size runs of >100K acres can take 20-30 minutes. You will note that the project area priorities will be different at different stand sizes – this is as expected, as the tool is pulling much more granular information with smaller stand sizes, which changes the output.

The graphs on the Results page in Figure 17 provide information on the secondary metrics in the scenario. The default shows four charts, however by selecting the down-arrow on the top right of the chart, additional metrics can be selected. Each of these metrics comes from the Regional Resource Kit, and more information on those metrics can be found in the data dictionaries, described above. The X-axis shows the project area, while the Y-axis provides the measurement data related to the metric. These charts can be useful in reviewing a scenario, as it may show that a scenario run to identify optimal areas to prevent high severity fire may be contraindicated for spotted owls or other endangered species. 

 

All of the metrics output is available in a .csv file for import into other tools. A shapefile of the project areas can also be generated.

 

How ForSys Supports Deriving Treatment Questions

As mentioned above, ForSys is used to calculate the project areas for the defined scenarios. ForSys calculates treatment areas based on the input of specific Primary Metrics and Thresholds. For the Treatment Goals used in Scenario Planning, Planscape has pre-determined the primary metrics and thresholds for each question. At this time, these are not user modifiable parameters. However, it is important for the planner to understand the metrics that are used in each of these questions. 

Note that the primary metrics are derived from a specific RRK data layer. The thresholds are also derived from the RRKs, however some of those parameters are operational layers that are not available to view in the map view, but can be found in the specific metrics dictionary for that region.

Treatment Question Detail for the Sierra Nevada Region

Treatment GoalDetailPrimary MetricsThreshold Layers
High Severity Fire AreasFor a selected area of interest, ForSys results will identify areas with the highest probability of high severity fireProbability of Fire Severity (High)Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0
Reduce WUI Fire RiskFor a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify areas for fuels reduction treatment within Wildland Urban Interface (Intermix and Interface/Defense Zone).

Equal Weighting Of: 

1) Structure Exposure Score

2) Damage Potential

1) Wildland Urban Interface is = “1” or “2”  

2) Total Fuels Exposed to Fire is > “0”, 

3) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > “0”, 

4) Structure Exposure Score is > “0”, 

5) WUI Damage Potential is greater than “Very Low”, (i.e., is equal to 2, 3, 4, or 5),  

6) Mean FRI Departure Condition Class is > 33% (i.e., = “2” or “3”)

Fuel Load Reduction OpportunitiesFor a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify areas with the highest total fuel loads and have a high probability of high severity fires.

Equal weighting of: 

1) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire  

2) Probability of Fire Severity (High)

1) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire is > 0, 

2) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0 

Areas for Prescribed BurnsFor a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify where existing conditions would allow for prescribed burning with minimal pre-treatment of vegetation.

Equal weighting of:

 1) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire

2) Standing Dead and Ladder Fuels

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0 and < 0.2, 

2) Mean FRID Condition Class is “1” (i.e., 0 to 33% departure)

Reduce Fire Risk to Riparian HabitatWhere are the priority opportunities to effectively reduce high severity fire risk to riparian habitats?

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High), and 

2) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, 

2) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire is > 0, 

3) CWHR – Vegetation Type is not 1200 or 2700 or 3300 or 1100 or 1300 or 1900 or 2900 or 3800 (these codes indicate riparian habitat)

Reduce Fire Risk in Owl HabitatFor a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas adjacent to/along the margins of spotted owl habitats with high severity fire risk.

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High), 

2) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, 

2) Total Fuel Exposed to Fire is > 0, and 

3) California Spotted Owl habitat  = 0 (areas suitable for treatment should not be associated with owl habitat and  stands closest to habitat should get priority)

Identify Wildlife Rich Areas Exposed to FireFor a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high native wildlife species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) 

2) Wildlife Species Richness 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0 

2) Wildlife Species Richness is > 0

Threatened/Endangered Species Exposed to FireFor a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high threatened/ endangered species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of:

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, and 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness is > 0

Areas with Long Term Carbon StorageFor a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with relatively elevated tree biomass carbon Aboveground Live Tree CarbonAboveground Live Tree Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha
Reduce Fire Risk in Carbon SinksWhat areas support elevated above ground carbon and could be managed to reduce exposure to high severity fire events?

Equal Weighting of:

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High)

2) Aboveground Live Tree Carbon 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0, 

2) Aboveground Live Tree Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha

Treatment Question Detail for the Southern California Region

Treatment Goal

Detail

Primary Metrics

Threshold Layers

High Severity Fire Areas

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results will identify areas with the highest probability of high severity fire

Probability of Fire Severity (High)

Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0

Reduce WUI Fire Risk

For a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify areas for fuels reduction treatment within Wildland Urban Interface (Intermix and Interface/Defense Zone).

Equal Weighting Of: 

1) High Severity Fire

2) Structure Exposure Score

3) Damage Potential

1) Probability of High Fire Severity is > 0, 

2) Structure Exposure Score is not “SES I”, 

3) WUI Damage Potential is not “0” (and is “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, and “5”), 

4) Wildland Urban Interface is “1” and “2” (is classified as WUI)

Reduce Fire Risk to Riparian Habitat

Where are the priority opportunities to effectively reduce high severity fire risk to riparian habitats?

Probability of Fire Severity (High)

1) CWHR Vegetation – CWHR Code is not ASP or DRI or MHC or VRI or POS or MRI or DSW or WTM or EST or MAR or RIV, and 

2) Probability of Fire Severity High > 0 

Reduce Fire Risk in Owl Habitat

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas adjacent to/along the margins of spotted owl habitats with high severity fire risk.

Probability of Fire Severity (High)

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, 

2) California Spotted Owl habitat  = 0 (areas suitable for treatment should not be associated with owl habitat and  stands closest to habitat should get priority)

Identify Wildlife Rich Areas Exposed to Fire

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high native wildlife species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) 

2) Wildlife Species Richness 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0 

2) Wildlife Species Richness is > 0

Threatened/Endangered Species Exposed to Fire

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high threatened/ endangered species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of:

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, and 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness is > 0

Areas with Long Term Carbon Storage

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with relatively elevated tree biomass carbon 

Equal Weighting of:

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High)

2) Total Aboveground Carbon

Total Aboveground Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha

Reduce Fire Risk in Carbon Sinks

What areas support elevated above ground carbon and could be managed to reduce exposure to high severity fire events?

Equal Weighting of:

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High)

2) Total Aboveground Carbon 

1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0, 

2) Total Aboveground Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha

Treatment Question Detail for the Northern California Region

Treatment Goal

Detail

Primary Metrics

Threshold Layers

High Severity Fire Areas

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results will identify areas with the highest probability of high severity fire

Probability of High Severity Fire

Probability of High Severity Fire > 0

Reduce WUI Fire Risk

For a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify areas for fuels reduction treatment within Wildland Urban Interface (Intermix and Interface/Defense Zone).

Equal weighting of:

1) Structure Exposure Score  

2) Damage Potential 

1) Structure Exposure Score > “0”, 

2) Damage Potential is greater than “Very Low” (is equal to codes 2, 3, 4, or 5), 

3) Probability of high severity fire > “0” 

Areas for Prescribed Burns

For a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify where existing conditions would allow for prescribed burning with minimal pre-treatment of vegetation.

FRID Condition Class for Departure

1) FRID Condition Class is “1” (i.e., 0 to 33% departure)

2) Probability of High Fire Severity is > 0 and < 0.2, 

3) is Not Wildland Urban Interface (WUI = “0”; an operational layer 

Reduce Fire Risk to Pacific Fisher Habitat

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with greatest probability of high severity fire and lowest quality Pacific Fisher habitat. 

1) Probability of High Severity Fire

1) Probability of High Fire Severity is > 0, 

2) Pacific Fisher Predicted Habitat > 0 and < 0.25  (areas suitable for treatment should not be associated with higher quality pacific fisher habitat).

Reduce Fire Risk to Riparian Habitat

Where are the priority opportunities to effectively reduce high severity fire risk to riparian habitats?

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of High Fire Severity

2) Wildfire Hazard Potential 




1) Probability of High Severity Fire is > 0, 

2) Wildfire Hazard Potential > 0 

3) Riparian Habitat (is not Riparian Habitat code = “0”) 

Reduce Fire Risk in Northern Spotted Owl Habitat

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with greatest probability of high severity fire and lowest quality NSPO nesting/roosting habitat. 

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of High Severity Fire

2) Invert of NSO nesting/roosting

1) Probability of High Fire Severity is > 0, 

2) Northern Spotted Owl Nesting/Roosting Forest <= 800

3) Cover Type Suitability Index is > 0 and < 800 (areas suitable for treatment should not be associated with high suitability northern spotted owl nesting/roosting habitat). 

Identify Wildlife Rich Areas Exposed to Fire

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high native wildlife species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of: 

1) Probability of High Severity Fire

2) Wildlife Species Richness 

1) Probability of High Severity Fire is > 0 

2) Wildlife Species Richness is > 0

Threatened/Endangered Species Exposed to Fire

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high threatened/ endangered species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk

Equal weighting of:

1) Probability of High Severity Fire 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness

1) Probability of High Severity Fire is > 0, and 

2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness is > 0

Areas supporting elevated aboveground carbon.

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with the greatest levels of Total Aboveground Carbon

Equal weighting:

1) Total Aboveground Carbon

2) Aboveground Carbon Turnover Time

1) Total Aboveground Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha

2) Aboveground Carbon Turnover Time > 0 years

Reduce Fire Risk in Carbon Sinks

For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas with the greatest levels of Total Aboveground Carbon and elevated probability of high severity fire.

Equal weighting:

1) Probability of High Fire Severity

2) Total Aboveground Carbon 

3) Aboveground Carbon Turnover Time

1) Probability of High Fire Severity > 0, 

2) Aboveground Live Tree Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha

3) Aboveground Carbon Turnover Time > 0 years

Treatment Question Detail for the Central Coast Region

In future versions of Planscape, we will enable users to choose their own variables directly. That capability is not available at this time.

Treatment Goal Detail Primary Metrics Threshold Layers
High Severity Fire Areas For a selected area of interest, ForSys results will identify areas with the highest probability of high severity fire Probability of Fire Severity (High) Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0
Reduce WUI Fire Risk For a selected area of interest, ForSys should identify areas for fuels reduction treatment within Wildland Urban Interface (Intermix and Interface/Defense Zone). Equal Weighting Of:  1) High Severity Fire 2) Structure Exposure Score 3) Damage Potential 1) Probability of High Fire Severity is > 0,  2) Structure Exposure Score is not “SES I”,  3) WUI Damage Potential is not “0” (and is “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, and “5”),  4) Wildland Urban Interface is “1” and “2” (is classified as WUI)
Identify Wildlife Rich Areas Exposed to Fire For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high native wildlife species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk Equal weighting of:  1) Probability of Fire Severity (High)  2) Wildlife Species Richness  1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0  2) Wildlife Species Richness is > 0
Threatened/Endangered Species Exposed to Fire For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should show areas that have both relatively high threatened/ endangered species richness (fauna) and high severity fire risk Equal weighting of: 1) Probability of Fire Severity (High)  2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness 1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) is > 0, and  2) Threatened/Endangered Vertebrate Species Richness is > 0
Areas with Long Term Carbon Storage For a selected area of interest, ForSys results should  Total Aboveground Carbon Total Aboveground Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha
Reduce Fire Risk in Carbon Sinks What areas support elevated above ground carbon and could be managed to reduce exposure to high severity fire events? Equal Weighting of: 1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) 2) Total Aboveground Carbon  3) Aboveground Carbon Turnover Time 1) Probability of Fire Severity (High) > 0,  2) Total Aboveground Carbon > 0 Mg C/ha 3) Aboveground Carbon Turnover time > 0 years

Collaboration

Planscape makes collaborating with other members of your planning team easier.

Map Sharing

Map views that are created in Explore can easily be shared with anyone. Users do not need to have an account or be logged in to share or open shared maps. To share map views created in Explore, simply click on the “Share” button in the menu bar.
Share option when you explore maps
Fig19: Share option when you explore maps
The “Share” button will open a dialog box that will allow you to copy the URL to share out the link with other users.
Map link to share
Fig 20: Map link to share
When the other users you share the link with receives and activates the link, they will be taken into the Planscape application and directly to the map view that was shared with them.

Sharing and Collaborating on Planning Areas

Collaboration is a key part of developing landscape treatment plans. Because you will want to both allow other people to look at your plans, and create their own scenarios based on their expertise, Planscape allows you to share your Planning Areas, and their associated Scenarios, with other users that you select. There are four access levels for Plans with different capabilities:

Creator

  • Creates the original planning area. Creator cannot be assigned to any other users. If a “Creator” leaves the project, the Owner can facilitate their tasks.
  • Can access planning area
  • Can delete planning areas
  • Can create scenarios
  • Can view all scenarios
  • Can invite others to planning areas

Owner

  • Can access planning area
  • Can view all scenarios
  • Create scenarios
  • Can invite others to planning areas
  • Can change Collaborator and Viewer access permissions

Collaborator

  • Can access planning area
  • Can view all scenarios
  • Create scenarios

Viewer

  • Can access planning area
  • Can view all scenarios

How to share a Planning Area

There are two ways to share a Planning area.

  1. Start from the Planning Area main page which lists all of your plans, select the plan you want to share, and then select the “Share” button at the bottom of the screen. A popup will then let you enter the email address of the person you want to share with, with options to let them be “Owner”, “Collaborator” or “Viewer”. Enter the email address and select the access level, then select “Done”. This will send an email to invite the shared user into the plan. This popup also lists the other collaborators in that Plan and their access levels
Collaboration Figure 1
Fig 21: Collaboration Figure 1
  1. Start from the Plan Scenario list page, and select “Share” from the menu bar. Note that you are not just sharing a scenario, you are sharing the entire Plan. The same popup will appear after you select “Share”, prompting you to add an email address and select the access level.
Collaboration Figure 2
Fig 22: Collaboration Figure 2
If a Creator or Owner wants to change access permissions, they will need to select the “Share” button, which lists the users and their access levels. They can then change permissions from that screen, including removing access.

Receiving Collaboration Invitations

After sending the invitation to join in the plan, the user(s) will receive email invitations. Those invitations will include a link to the planning area. Users need to be logged in to access a plan. If the invitee is not yet a user, then they will need to create an account by selecting “Create an Account” or “Sign In” on the Planscape home page. If the invitee was issued an invitation to collaborate, then the email will read “You have been invited to collaborate on Planning Area xyz.” If the invitee is a viewer, then the email will read “You have been invited to view “Planning Area xyz.” If your invitee does not receive an email, please have them check their spam folder.

Viewing Shared Plans and Scenarios

Once a plan has been shared, you will be able to see plans that you have been invited to on your Planning Areas page. When you go into that planning area, you will see any scenarios that have been created by your plan collaborators. Note in the image above that you will be able to use the toggle to show only your scenarios, or all scenarios.

Likewise on the Planning Areas page, if you click on the “Creator” title at the top of that column, it will toggle between showing most recent plans, or plans listed by the creator in alphabetical order.

Planning Area Notes

To facilitate collaboration, “Notes” can be added to planning areas by any plan collaborator. Notes are simple text comments that are made by users to add context or information about the plan.
To add a note, click on the “Notes” tab at the top left of the scenarios screen, and start to type your note into the “Add a Note” box at the bottom of the column. The user name and date the note was created will be added to the Notes list, in sequential order by time. Notes can be deleted by clicking on the ellipse next to the note.
Collaborations Notes
Fig 23: Collaboration Notes

Archiving Scenarios

Because plans may contain many scenarios, some of which may become outdated, scenarios may be archived. Scenarios have two states: Active and Archived. Any scenario can be archived, and archived scenarios can be restored. Planning area creators, owners, and scenario creators can archive and restore scenarios. Viewers cannot archive or restore scenarios. However, anyone who has access to a plan can view all scenarios, including archived scenarios.
Archiving Scenarios list
Fig 24: Archiving Scenarios List
Scenarios can be archived by selecting a scenario and clicking on the “Archive” button.
Archiving Scenarios list restore
Fig 25: Archiving Scenarios Restore
Archived scenarios can be restored to the active column by selecting the scenario and clicking on the “Restore” button.

Glossary

Data Values

Raw Values (RV): Numeric data per pixel that describe ecological status, constrained to a range of possible values.
  – Example: Number of large trees, with 0 as the minimum and 100 as the maximum.
Normalized Values (NV): Raw Values scaled linearly from –1 to 1.
  – Example: For the RV of large trees, 0 large trees is –1, 100 large trees is 1, and the midpoint of 50 is 0.
Interpreted Values (IV): Raw Values interpreted on the range from –1 to 1, where –1 means “undesirable conditions” and 1 means “desirable conditions”.
  – Example: For the RV of large trees, 0 large trees is –1, 1 large tree is 0, and 10 or more large trees is 1.
(Un)desired condition: Undesirable condition and desirable conditions that are assigned as “-1” and “1” based on 1) literature, 2) expert opinion, 3) available data
  – Other name: target condition, reference condition
 

Conditions and Scores

Either Ecosystem, Pillar, Element, or Metric

  • Metric: measured condition of the landscape
    Examples: large trees, probability of high-severity fire
  • Element: average or minimum (depending on the element) for the metrics in that element while weighing all metrics equally.
    Examples: forest composition, fire severity
  • Pillar: average of elements in that pillar, weighing all elements equally
    Examples: carbon sequestration, fire-adapted communities
  • Ecosystem: average of all pillars, weighing all elements equally
 

Condition Score

A set of Raw Values or Interpreted Values associated with a condition.
Raw Values are available only for metrics. There are several kinds of condition scores:

  • Basic Score:
    • Current conditions
    • Raw value with [min, max] – metrics only. Example: flame length [0, 10 meters].
    • Interpreted value – metrics, elements, pillars
    • Future conditions
    • Not displayed to users
  • Derived Scores: Computed from both Current and Future Interpreted Values
    Individual scores (AMPT): informs _how_ to treat.
    • Adapt: bad now, good later (but needs treatment to make sure it’s good later)
    • Monitor: good all around
    • Protect: good now, bad later
    • Transform: bad all around
    • Computed from the distance to the four corners of the [-1, 1] square (current score on x axis, future score on y axis)
    • Other names: strategy score
  • Benefit score: Combination of Adapt/Protect. Recommends treatment option based on land condition.
    Adapt suggests treatments to take an area in poorer condition into a better state.
    Protect suggests treatments to keep an area currently in good condition that way into the future.
    • Explanation: informs _where_ to treat, most actionable score, most helpful at the HUC/ecosystem level
      – The higher of the adapt, protect score, rescaled to [-1, 1] range
    • Performance score: Informs _why_ to treat by explaining the impact
    • Rescaled average of Monitor and Current scores
    • Other names: evaluation score, pre-treatment score, post-treatment score
    • Name for the delta: performance delta, treatment impact

Planning

  • Region: Regions vary by usage and team. One can be referring to a USFS region, or one of the four regions defined by the California Wildfire Taskforce for the Regional Resource Kits (RRK).  Planscape currently only uses the RRK regions.
    • The official RRK regions are Sierra Nevada, Northern California, Central Coast, and Southern California.
  • Plan: A plan has a corresponding planning area. A user can create multiple plans in the same region.
    • A plan contains the planning area, multiple scenarios as well as all the projects, treatments and activities associated with the planning area.
  • Planning area: Also referred to as an Area of Interest (AOI), this is an area of hundreds to millions of acres in which projects are defined. Project areas are often designated by pre-defined shapefiles.
  • Scenario: A scenario is created by user identifying certain management objectives and constraints for a planning area. This information will then be fed into ForSys to generate project areas. A scenario can generate multiple project areas.
    • A user can create many scenarios on the same planning areas – a planning area may have many scenarios.
  •  Objective: currently objectives for a scenario can fall under three areas: Fire Dynamics, Biodiversity and Carbon.
    • The questions under the objectives rely on primary metrics from the RRKs, such as “Probability of High Severity Fire”
    • Objectives define the goal of the scenario output.
  • Constraint: Constraints for the planning algorithm, e.g., exclude wilderness areas, private land
  • Thresholds: limitations placed on the ForSys algorithm, such as distance to roads or slope exclusions.
  • Project: A project is an area prioritized by ForSys based on a user defined scenario
    •  Largest discrete unit used for planning and implementation purposes; a project may be comprised of one or more treatment areas. Some areas within the project may not receive treatment.
  • Treatment: A treatment is a land management approach prescribed by the land manager, e.g. Broadcast Burn, Mastication, Hand Thinning…  A project can have many treatments that either happen at the same time in different sub-project regions (e.g. mechanical thinning at various spots) or have different treatments happen serially (e.g. mechanical thinning then prescribed burn).
  • [Aspatial] Activity: A specific task when it comes to implementation (e.g. prescribed burn, hand thinning, mastication).

ForSys

ForSys is the underlying decision support tool used by Planscape for the identification of project areas. Developed by the USFS, it is a commonly used tool for wildland planning. For more information, see the ForSys website.

  • Project parameters – the parameters that patchmax uses to generate project areas
  • Project area set – the project areas from the patchmax output
  • Prioritization parameters – the parameters that ForSys uses to prioritze projects (a subset of project parameters)
  • Scenario set – a set of 66 scenarios generated by Forsys given Prioritization parameters
  • Scenario

    – one of the 66 scenarios generated by Forsys given prioritization parameters (i.e. an instance of prioritization parameter values)

 

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