Forest Health partners deploy new technology to help reduce wildfire threats

Submitted to the Sun
Land Tender enables land managers to collaboratively create forest treatment plans based on a number of desired outcomes.
Provided/Tahoe Fund

TRUCKEE, Calif. — As the Mosquito Fire recovery begins, 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, that will allow land managers to collaboratively address wildfire threats and plan forest health and restoration treatments. 

Land Tender 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.

Land Tender, also jointly funded by California Tahoe Conservancy, is the leading community wildfire resilience and wildland health decision support system in the United States. 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. 

Land Tender™ uses high resolution imaging and artificial intelligence to modernize planning for forest health treatments
Provided/Vibrant Planet

“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.” 

Land Tender 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. 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.

“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.” 

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