Table 2. Case study—The role of dynamic land cover information in managing fires in Australia’s northern savannas.


Monitoring and reporting steps Examples of the analyses used to create fire and land cover information products Examples of information needed to manage fire
STEP 1: ASSET DEFINITION
Determine the appropriate landscape scale, characterize the mosaic of land cover types and their ecosystem function (what, when, and where)
Create an imagery time series using a remote sensing imagery archive, 1990 onwards, including AVHRR, MODIS, and Landsat. Use this series in combination with other environmental, social, and economic information to:
 
  Classify and map land cover using an appropriate land cover classification system

  Classify and map fire-affected areas at different scales

  Define key assets different spatial and temporal scales, including threatened communities and sensitive areas

  Develop and test indicators—e.g., percent area burnt in early dry season and late dry season, and frequency of burning

  Establish fire plots

  Collect field-based measurements of vegetation and habitat attributes and observed fire management
 
  Characteristics of assets within a regional context—e.g., what, where, when, and who manages the asset

  Tables, figures, and maps on the known responses of land cover classes to fire management practices

  Which land cover classes have biodiversity assets—e.g., threatened communities, sensitive areas

  Fire regime of each land cover class—e.g., seasonality, intensity, and the responses over time

  Key indicators—e.g., changes in percent area burnt in early dry season and late dry season, changes in frequency of burning between land cover classes, long-term declines in greenness indices

  Positive and negative responses of vegetation and habitat attributes to fire management practices
STEP 2: IDENTIFY LAND COVER CHARACTERISTICS
Determine the extent to which the required ecosystem function and services are supplied by the current land cover classes and their ecosystem function, and assess how the social-ecological setting supports and/or limits the capacity for amelioration
  Define appropriate fire regime responses for selected assets

  Characterize the range of responses of land cover classes to seasonal rainfall patterns

  Characterize changes and trends in fire-affected areas within land cover classes

  Establish the links between responses of vegetation and habitat attributes over time under known land management practices—e.g., fire management

  Establish the range of social-ecological responses within land cover classes at various scales and the capacity for amelioration
 
  Which assets and land cover classes have appropriate and inappropriate ecological responses over time

  Which land cover classes are likely to exhibit limited capacity to change management practices or ameliorate impacts because of social-ecological settings
 
STEP 3: IDENTIFY NEEDS FOR CHANGE
Determine if and where in the landscape changes in land use or management actions will maintain or enhance the condition of vegetation assets and hence improve the mix of ecosystem services
  Identify those land cover classes where the spatial and temporal responses are due to inappropriate management practices

  Identify which areas are likely to respond positively to a change in land use or land management practices

  Identify which areas have responded positively to a change in land management practices—e.g., areas where improved vegetation greenness over time is observed and correlated with improvements in the delivery of multiple ecosystem services
  Which assets and land cover classes exhibit unacceptable responses over time and are due to inappropriate management practices

  Which assets and land cover classes are likely to respond positively to a change in land management practices

  Short-, medium-, and long-term responses indicating the likely responses of vegetation and habitats to changes in land management practices

  Relationships between ground-based practices and responses observed in remotely sensed imagery
 
STEP 4: IDENTIFY AND SELECT OPTIONS AND IMPLEMENT PRIORITY ACTIONS
Set priorities for actions, consider trade-offs involved, and identify areas for intervention where actions are to be undertaken through existing, revised, or new policy and programs and/or changes in land management practices. Invest in interventions that match selection criteria, and monitor land cover responses and links to ecosystem services and the effects of investments; integrate relevant monitoring data with existing database systems
  Identify those land cover classes and assets that are priority areas for intervention using changed management practices

  Assess costs and benefits—i.e., trade-offs of intervening to change practices

  Assess the least cost land management change options and maximum social benefit options for each land cover class

  Provide field maps to engage the community and industry

  Select ground-based reference and monitoring sites

  Design and establish a field-based fire management monitoring system

  Establish and monitor field plots over time, measuring responses in vegetation and habitat attributes and fire management practices

  Integrate ongoing field-based monitoring with existing database systems

  Negotiate work programs for areas to be treated

  Identify assets to be avoided

  Target areas for special treatment/s
  Priority areas to be treated using changed practices—e.g., early dry season burning on key landscape units within land cover classes

  Costs of implementing particular fire management practices

  Least cost options for intervening, and the likely social benefit in different social-ecological settings

  Information to enable managers to accurately deploy priority actions in selected land cover classes and assets—e.g., early dry season burning

  Near to real time remote sensing imagery to show what, when, and where an intervention was implemented
REPEAT STEPS 1–5 AS REQUIRED