The establishment of a robust national fuels mapping program must be based on pertinent lessons from relevant national mapping programs. Many large-area mapping programs are under way in numerous Federal agencies. Each of these programs follows unique strategies to achieve mapping goals and objectives. Implementation approaches range from highly centralized programs that use tightly integrated standards and dedicated staff, to dispersed programs that permit considerable flexibility. One model facilitates national consistency, while the other allows accommodation of locally relevant conditions and issues. An examination of the programmatic strategies of four national vegetation and land cover mapping initiatives can identify the unique approaches, accomplishments, and lessons of each that should be considered in the design of a national fuel mapping program. The first three programs are the U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program, the U.S. Geological Survey National Land Cover Characterization Program, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey National Wetlands Inventory. A fourth program, the interagency Multiresolution Land Characterization Program, offers insights in the use of partnerships to accomplish mapping goals. Collectively, the programs provide lessons, guiding principles, and other basic concepts that can be used to design a successful national fuels mapping initiative. Keywords: vegetation, land cover, fuels, mapping, United States, remote sensing.
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Toward a national fuels mapping strategy: Lessons from selected mapping programs