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Assessing the Ecological Need for Prescribed Fire in Michigan Using GIS-Based Multicriteria Decision Analysis: Igniting Fire Gaps

Michigan Natural Feature Inventory, Michigan State University Extension, Lansing, MI 48933, USA
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Academic Editors: Michael Wink and Brice B. Hanberry
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030100
Received: 7 February 2021 / Revised: 18 February 2021 / Accepted: 18 February 2021 / Published: 24 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire-Dependent Ecosystems)
In fire-suppressed landscapes, managers make difficult decisions about devoting limited resources for prescribed fire. Using GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis, we developed a model assessing ecological need for prescribed fire on Michigan’s state-owned lands, ranging from fire-dependent prairies, savannas, barrens, and oak and pine forests to fire-intolerant mesic forests, and including a diversity of wetlands. The model integrates fine-scale field-collected and broad-scale GIS data to identify where prescribed fire needs are greatest. We describe the model’s development and architecture, present results at multiple scales, introduce the concepts of “fire gaps” and “fire sink”, and rate the fire needs of more than 1.8 million hectares into one of six fire needs classes. Statewide, fire needs increase with decreasing latitude. The highest and lowest needs occur in southwestern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, respectively, but actual fire application rates for these regions are inverted. The model suggests burn rates should be increased 2.2 to 13.4 times to burn all lands with greater than high fire needs. The model identifies regional patterns; highlights specific sites; and illustrates the disparity of fire needs and fire application. The modeling framework is broadly applicable to other geographies and efforts to prioritize stewardship of biodiversity at multiple scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire; needs assessment; multicriteria decision analysis; prescribed fire; fire suppression; fire frequency; prioritization; biodiversity; Michigan; upper Midwest fire; needs assessment; multicriteria decision analysis; prescribed fire; fire suppression; fire frequency; prioritization; biodiversity; Michigan; upper Midwest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cohen, J.G.; Wilton, C.M.; Enander, H.D.; Bassett, T.J. Assessing the Ecological Need for Prescribed Fire in Michigan Using GIS-Based Multicriteria Decision Analysis: Igniting Fire Gaps. Diversity 2021, 13, 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030100

AMA Style

Cohen JG, Wilton CM, Enander HD, Bassett TJ. Assessing the Ecological Need for Prescribed Fire in Michigan Using GIS-Based Multicriteria Decision Analysis: Igniting Fire Gaps. Diversity. 2021; 13(3):100. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030100

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cohen, Joshua G., Clay M. Wilton, Helen D. Enander, and Tyler J. Bassett 2021. "Assessing the Ecological Need for Prescribed Fire in Michigan Using GIS-Based Multicriteria Decision Analysis: Igniting Fire Gaps" Diversity 13, no. 3: 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030100

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