Measures and Monitoring
The Conservancy engages in fire management activities to achieve one or more goals at a site or across a landscape, usually related to ecosystem restoration or the abatement of threats to people and nature. Goals are stated in burn plans, site management plans, and landscape or project plans. It is important for fire management goals to be specific enough to guide on-the-ground fire application. It is equally as important to establish measures for assessing progress toward goals. Typically, measures are incorporated into specific objectives within a burn plan or site plan.
Monitoring of fire effects takes place at multiple scales and time frames. An assessment that takes place immediately after a prescribed burn can determine first order fire effects, such as burn coverage, scorch height, char, and fuels consumption. An assessment that takes place months after a burn during the subsequent vegetative growing season can determine immediate post-fire biological responses. Long-term monitoring over many years through use of transects, plots, or photo points will help the manager determine progress toward ultimate fire management goals.
The measures and monitoring process should be defined before fire occurs. Resulting monitoring data should be used to adapt treatment prescriptions to achieve desired results. Standardized monitoring protocols have the advantage of being able to compare results across many different locations in similar habitat and treatments. However, standardized approaches may require customization for site-specific measures needs. Complexity, statistical uncertainties and inefficiency are the bane of many monitoring approaches. Regardless of approach, data collected should be data analyzed. And analyses should be discussed or interpreted for stated goals and objectives in a timely way.
Last updated July 20, 2017.
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