Land Tender™ uses high resolution imaging and artificial intelligence to modernize planning for forest health treatments.
TRUCKEE, Calif. (September 22, 2022) – As the Mosquito fire burns, and one year after the Caldor fire burned into the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation announced the deployment of Land Tender™, a powerful new software tool developed by Vibrant Planet, for use by federal agencies, state parks, local counties, fire districts, and organizations like the Truckee River Watershed Council, to collaboratively address wildfire threats and plan forest health and restoration treatments. Land Tender, also jointly funded by California Tahoe Conservancy, will be used in the Tahoe Basin and surrounding critical watersheds covering 1.5 million acres, making this the largest deployment to date of this new system.
The Tahoe area is home to 800,000+ residents in peak season and welcomes more than 15 million visitors per year. Its watersheds support millions of downstream Californians and Nevadans, rich biodiversity, and unparalleled recreational opportunities. With the current Mosquito Fire and the 2021 Caldor Fire burning large swaths of this landscape, proactive Tahoe partners recognized the need to use new technology to improve and accelerate what can be an arduous and inefficient planning and monitoring process.
Land Tender is the leading community wildfire resilience and wildland health decision support system in the United States. By leveraging remote sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the platform will be deployed across the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Middle Truckee River, American River, Bear River, Feather River, and Yuba River watersheds. Much of that area is either burning, under high wildfire threat, or in need of reforestation, fueling the need for faster, more informed wildfire resilience and restoration planning and monitoring. The platform will provide granular-level detail on dozens of key forest health metrics in the region, including tree densities and potential mortality; vulnerability of endangered species habitats, recreational trails, and waterways; carbon value; as well as a detailed breakdown of structures present and the modeled fire pathways that put them at risk. From there, Land Tender enables land managers to collaboratively create forest treatment plans based on a number of desired outcomes, such as reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, or maximizing water quality or protecting recreational opportunities, to meet the needs of various stakeholders.
Land Tender also estimates the cost of such treatments, and allows land managers to monitor and report on project progress, shift priorities and resources based on evolving conditions and threats, and gain insights into the effectiveness of different techniques. Ultimately, workflows done by these groups in Land Tender will reduce multi-year planning processes to weeks, allowing managers to rapidly develop community wildfire protection plans and proactively address forest health challenges.
“Traditional solutions are inadequate with the rate of change and severe impacts we’re seeing in this new age of ‘megafire’,” explained Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund. “Vibrant Planet’s software allows us to speed up the timeline of critical community protection and forest health, while at the same time giving us more information than ever before to do what’s best for the environment. It’s a powerful complement to other recent Tahoe Fund initiatives, including a new sawmill in Carson City and scholarships for the new forestry program at Lake Tahoe Community College.”
“Historically, public and private landowners created and executed land management plans independently,” explained Allison Wolff, CEO of Vibrant Planet. “In the face of catastrophic wildfire and other climate change driven impacts, we’re excited to offer a solution that can help land managers come together across jurisdictions to more rapidly map, model and get funding for forest health treatments that meet the goals of all affected parties, both within and downstream from multi-jurisdictional landscapes.”
“Collaboration is challenging when stakeholders with different points of view on what they value in a landscape, or their backyard, cannot see each others’ perspectives or how different scenarios might play out in the future,“ said Stacy Caldwell, CEO of Tahoe Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. “Vibrant Planet’s software allows landowners and other stakeholders to develop scenarios that meet their objectives, then share their scenarios with each other to drive to alignment so that we can get more protective and restorative work done faster.”
Land Tender was designed with significant input from land managers, emergency responders, scientists, NGOs, and local and regional policy and decision makers, including many in the Tahoe region, and built by a team of seasoned technology, ecology, and forest management leaders. The platform will generate a continuous pipeline of forest health and wildfire mitigation projects across the western U.S. helping local, state and federal agencies invest strategically in workforce development, as well as the strategic placement of needed sawmill and biomass utilization infrastructure, and obtain carbon finance to help cover ongoing wildland resilience building efforts.
Founded in 2020, Vibrant Planet, a public benefit corporation, builds data-driven, cloud-based software to help make communities and ecosystems more resilient in the face of climate change. The company’s easy-to-use technology provides organizations, land managers, and government agencies with a comprehensive platform for treatment planning, monitoring, and reporting. Vibrant Planet’s mission is to accelerate the community and wildland resilience to wildfire and climate change, and enhance the ability of natural ecosystems to support essential ecosystem services like carbon storage, clean water availability, biodiversity, and recreation by helping planners, policymakers, and investors work better together to identify and prioritize opportunities to build community and wildland resilience in at-risk landscapes worldwide. For more information visit vibrantplanet.net.
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