Environment for the Americas has also provided grants for research studies in the US to learn more about the impacts of fire, restoration and habitat protection for birds.
Assessment, Prioritization, and Planning for restoration and conservation activities on the Angeles National Forest
EFTA and JPL supported the Angeles National Forest Restoration Goal of Assessment, Prioritization and Planning. Information on pre- and post-fire forest conditions is incomplete or outdated across many areas of the fire scars, and land managers currently rely on broadscale and coarse assessments of vegetation in the forest, such as CAL Fire and eVeg. Many of these assessments have not been updated on the Angeles National Forest since 2002 and lack necessary information about the state of the Forest since the three fires and the onset of the state’s drought in 2011. The Angeles NF has been abnormally dry since 2013 and in a state of extreme drought from 2014 to 2017. Precipitation in 2017 has resulted in a reclassification of the area encompassing the Angeles NF as abnormally dry. However, as land managers work to restore and revegetate the areas impacted by fire, they lack the tools they need to evaluate vegetation communities. Accurate vegetation data are necessary to “develop strategic and effective restoration and conservation projects” and “to focus opportunities to areas of greatest need, determine the best techniques to employ given site conditions and restoration goals, comply with regulatory requirements, and evaluate project effectiveness over time.” A two year project was proposed that used NASA’s most recent technology to examine vegetation through airborne data and verify these data and their relationships to fauna using transect surveys within the three burns. The project accomplished this through the following:
- Habitat Assessments – Evaluate condition of habitat features relative to expected natural conditions (pre-fire) or reference conditions;
- Changes to Biota – Evaluate status of priority populations or species, ecosystem assemblages, and presence, abundances, and impacts of non-native species;
- Vegetation Mapping Technology-Evaluate the effectiveness of new mapping technology in conservation, restoration, and revegetation projects.