FIRE-BIRD: a GIS-based toolset for applying habitat suitability models to inform land management planning.
Habitat suitability models can inform forest management for species of conservation concern. Models quantify relationships between known species locations and environmental attributes, which are used to identify areas most likely to support species of concern. Managers can then limit negative human impacts in areas of high suitability or conduct habitat improvements in areas of marginal suitability. Model applications are computationally intensive, requiring time and resources not available to most managers. We developed FIRE-BIRD, an ArcGIS toolbox, to streamline preliminary data processing and application of habitat suitability models to forest management planning for disturbance-associated woodpeckers of conservation concern. Tools are currently developed for black-backed (Picoides arcticus) and white-headed woodpecker (Dryobates albolvartus) in Inland Northwest burned forests; black-backed, white-headed, and hairy woodpecker (D. villosus) in Northern Sierra burned forests; and white-headed woodpecker in Inland Northwest unburned forests. This manual provides tool operating instructions and guidelines to interpret resulting habitat suitability maps. The suite of species currently included makes this toolset best suited for postfire management and restoration treatments in dry mixed-conifer forests. Incorporating additional species and forest conditions in the future will broaden the scope of this toolset.