FireSmart - 160-301

Description: The OMNR and its industrial partners are expected to invest in intensive forest management (IFM) across Ontario in the years ahead but those investments will take place at sites where biological productivity, delivered wood costs and other factors combine to produce conditions under which investors can maximize their economic returns.  Ontario’s fire management program has traditionally delivered a level of fire protection that is roughly uniform within very large zones – the intensive, measured and protection zones, but the OMNR’s new fire management strategy calls for more spatial resolution in the level of protection.  While fire mangers have been moving towards the development of more spatial detail in their programs, forest mangers have been developing spatially explicit forest management plans that address timber production, wildlife habitat, and many other concerns that cannot be adequately addressed by aspatial forest management planning.  Although the need for integrated fire and forest management has long been recognized, the decision support systems that have been developed to support integrated fire/forest management planning are aspatial.

The OMNR’s current version of the Leopards level of fire protection planning system and the aspatial Strategic Forest Management Model (SFMM) can be used to link fire and forest management at highly aggregated spatial scales (e.g., a forest management unit).  What is now needed is a new Leopards with spatially explicit levels of protection capabilities that can be linked to spatially explicit forest management planning models so intensive forest management investments are not lost in aggregated aspatial planning exercises.

Forest management planning horizons extend several hundred years into the future and forest managers must consider the potential impacts of climate change on their operations.  Since climate change is expected to affect both forest growth and fire management to different degrees across the province of Ontario, there is a need for spatially explicit linkages between fire and forest management planning.

The primary objective of this research project is to develop an integrated fire/forest management decision support system that can be used to help evaluate spatially explicit fire/forest management planning strategies given current and projected climate change.We anticipate that the results of the proposed research will be adapted and extended for use nationally and internationally, in both research and forest resource management.


The Project Team: David Martell, University of Toronto, M.D. Flannigan, CFS, R.S. McAlpine, and D. Boychuk, OMNR


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