Digital soil mapping for predicting and managing fire in rangelands

TitleDigital soil mapping for predicting and managing fire in rangelands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLevi M, Bestelmeyer BT
JournalFire Ecology
Start Page1
Date Published12/2018
ARIS Log Number345243
Keywordsdigital soil mapping, fire effects, grasslands, shrublands, soil moisture, spatial modeling, wildfire

Background: Soil properties have important effects on fire occurrence and spread, but soils are often overlooked in
fire prediction models. Quantifying soil−fire linkages is limited by information in conventional soil maps, but digital
soil mapping products (e.g., detailed soil property maps) could improve both wildfire prediction models and post-fire
management decisions.
Results: Of our estimated 3.7 Mkm2 of rangeland in the continental US and Alaska, an average of 38 000 km2 burned
per year between 2008 and 2017. To highlight the role of soils in fire ecology, we present 1) a conceptual framework
explaining why soil information can be useful for fire models, 2) a comprehensive suite of literature examples that used
soil property information in traditional soil survey for predicting wildfire, and 3) specific examples of how more detailed
soil information can be applied for pre- and post-fire decisions.
Conclusions: Digital soil mapping can improve fire prediction models and inform post-fire management decisions