Indicator: Previously Burned Pine Habitat

Aug 10, 2020
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This indicator is an index of fire-maintained, open canopy habitat. It attempts to capture previous fire in the pine ecosystem by using LANDFIRE data (1999-2010) as a proxy for regularly burned habitat.

Reason for Selection

This indicator represents the overall structure and condition of the habitat, is regularly monitored, and is widely used and understood by diverse partners.

Input Data

– Data from the LANDFIRE program (also known as the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools) were used to quantify fire distribution. LANDFIRE is a cooperative project from The Nature Conservancy, the USDA Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and other agencies. Specifically, vegetation disturbance data for 1999–2010 derived from Landsat satellite imagery, local agency data contributions, and ancillary data (Ryan and Opperman 2013, Vogelmann et al. 2011).

2011 National Land Cover Database (NLCD): Used to define urban areas as described in mapping steps

Blueprint 2.1 ecosystem map (see Appendix A)

Mapping Steps

Indicators that have not changed since Blueprint 2.0 were initially computed, or in the case of existing data, resampled to 1 ha spatial resolution using the nearest neighbor method. For computational reasons, we then used the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst-Aggregate function to rescale the resolution to 200 m. The aggregate function avoided loss of detail by taking the maximum value of each cell in the conversion (e.g., species presence).

1) From the disturbance data, we only used disturbances from fires, which excluded mechanical, chemical, and unknown disturbances.

2) The ArcGIS Spatial Analyst-Aggregate (maximum) function was used to rescale data to a 1 km resolution.

3) From the 1 km grid size, we then removed all areas classified as human development in the 2011 NLCD (100 m resolution; classifications categories 21-24) and resampled the data to 200 m resolution to be consistent with other data sources in the Blueprint 2.2.

4) We clipped the results from step 3 to the pine & prairie class in the Blueprint 2.1 ecosystem map.

5) To use this indicator in the Blueprint 2020, we just resampled the data from 200 meters down to 30 meters to match the new resolution.

Final indicator values

The data were classified as follows:

1 = Burned between 1999-2010 and open canopy (high)

0 = Not burned between 1999-2010 or not open canopy (low)

Known Issues

– Data used only depict fires from 1999-2010 and do not fully capture the full fire history of the site. A site burned only once during this period still received the highest score.

– Predictions are relatively coarse to account for underprediction of fire in moderate (30%-100%) canopy cover areas. This indicator tends to underpredict fire in the northern part of the South Atlantic region, as canopy cover is naturally higher there and therefore more likely to hide the presence of fire.

– Some known areas of pine and prairie habitat are not scored in this indicator, mostly located on the North Carolina coast. For Blueprint 2.1, we expanded the pine & prairie class in the ecosystem map to include NoData pixels that were previously classified as “Other” in Blueprint 2.0. This indicator has not been expanded to cover those new pine & prairie areas.

– The spatial resolution of the source data has been degraded. While this layer has a 30 m resolution, it was not created directly from the spatially precise input data. Here, we resampled the 200 meter resolution data used in the previous version of the indicator back down to 30 meter resolution so that we could use it in our optimization software.

Disclaimer: Comparing with Older Indicator Versions

There are numerous problems with using South Atlantic indicators for change analysis. Please consult Blueprint staff if you would like to do this (email

Literature Cited

Homer, C.G., Dewitz, J.A., Yang, L., Jin, S., Danielson, P., Xian, G., Coulston, J., Herold, N.D., Wickham, J.D., and Megown, K., 2015, Completion of the 2011 National Land Cover Database for the conterminous United States-Representing a decade of land cover change information. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, v. 81, no. 5, p. 345-354. []

Ryan, K.C., Opperman, T.S., 2013. LANDFIRE–A national vegetation/fuels data base for use in fuels treatment, restoration, and suppression planning. Forest Ecology and Management 294, 208-216.

Vogelmann, J.E., Kost, J.R., Tolk, B., Howard, S., Short, K., Chen, X., Huang, C., Pabst, K., Rollins, M.G., 2011. Monitoring landscape change for LANDFIRE using multi-temporal satellite imagery and ancillary data. Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of 4, 252-264.

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Content date:
2020-08-15 04:00:00 (lastRevision Date), 2020-08-15 04:00:00 (Release Date), 2019-08-15 04:00:00 (Start Date), 2021-08-15 04:00:00 (End Date)
Rua Mordecai(Point of Contact), Amy Keister(Point of Contact), Hilary Morris(Point of Contact), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(Point of Contact), Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)(Point of Contact), 2020-08-15(lastRevision), 2020-08-15(Release), Indicator: Previously Burned Pine Habitat,,
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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South Atlantic Blueprint

The South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint is a living spatial plan to conserve natural and cultural resources for current and future generations in the face of future change. It spans parts of six states, from Virginia to Florida, including U.S. waters to 200 miles offshore. The Blueprint...