CECS research is focused on four central efforts:
- Developing consistent, integrated geospatial datasets to quantify the effects of past and ongoing disturbances to land surface characteristics in California, including vegetation, water, fuels, fire hazard, and carbon stocks
- Determining the effects of past and ongoing land management activities on land surface characteristics
- Building publicly available tools to inform management decisions, including tools for data download, visualization, assessment of proposed management, and ecosystem service valuation
- Valuing the multiple benefits of land management practices in order to incentivize financing of future projects
CECS researchers have developed products to meet the first three goals of the project and are continuing to refine those products with stakeholder input. The fourth is in development, with a shareable product expected by Fall 2022. A full summary of CECS progress to date is available in our Year 1 and 2 Annual Reports.
CECS has developed remote sensing and geospatial tools to consistently quantify current conditions and the effects of past and ongoing management on an integrated, statewide scale. This data covers numerous categories of land surface characteristics, including:
- Biomass stocks and carbon dynamics
- Water balance and the delivery of runoff to rivers and groundwater
- Vegetation cover, and management or disturbance history
- Surface fuels and wildfire spread and severity.
To achieve this, CECS researchers collected and homogenized existing data on these ecosystem metrics, and then improved upon this existing data by creating new datasets to fill critical gaps. This includes data on surface fuels, detrital carbon stocks, vegetation disturbance, and water and carbon exchanges. This data spans from 1986 to present, allowing users to examine the effects of past management or disturbance.