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Decision Making Tools

Agricultural Systems Research Unit - ARS - modeling efforts are housed in Fort Collins, including DayCent, Root Zone Water Quality Model 2 (RZWQM2), Object Modeling Systems, and Great Plains Framework for Agricultural Resource Management (GPFARM)

Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender model – APEX - The Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was developed for use in whole farm/small watershed management. The model was constructed to evaluate various land management strategies considering sustainability, erosion (wind, sheet, and channel), economics, water supply and quality, soil quality, plant competition, weather and pests. 

CarbOn Management Evaluation Tool -- COMET-Farm- The tool guides you through describing your farm and ranch management practices including alternative future management scenarios. 

COLE (Carbon OnLine Estimator)  enables the user to examine forest carbon characteristics of any area of the continental United States.

Cool Farm Tool is an online greenhouse gas calculator that is free for growers to help them measure the carbon footprint of crop and livestock products.

COMET Farm a whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system. The tool guides you through describing your farm and ranch management practices including alternative future management scenarios. Once complete, a report is generated comparing carbon changes and greenhouse gas emissions between your current management practices and future scenarios.

CONSUME is a user-friendly software application designed for resource managers and scientists with some working knowledge of Microsoft Windows® applications. Land managers and researchers input fuel characteristics, lighting patterns, fuel conditions, and meteorological attributes, then CONSUME outputs fuel consumption and emissions by combustion phase.

CQESTR model was developed to evaluate the effect of agricultural management practices on short- and long-term soil organic matter dynamics.

Crop Explorer provides access to imagery and modeled estimates of crop production, soil moisture, and weather for the US and globally.

CropScape- Cropland Data Layer provides crop-specific land cover data layers created annually for the continental United States using moderate resolution satellite imagery and extensive agricultural ground truth.

Crop Sequence Calculator - is a user-friendly program that runs directly from a CD-ROM, eliminating the need for additional disk space or installation procedures. The program has been expanded to provide crop sequence information on two research projects (Phase II and Phase III) conducted from 1998 through 2005 at the Northern Great Plains Research. 

Data Basin Climate Center centralizes climate change-related datasets, maps and findings. Tools are provided to visualize, analyze, and communicate vulnerabilities, trends or predicted future scenarios at multiple scales.

DayCent: Daily Century Model simulates fluxes of C and N among the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil (Del Grosso et al., 2001a; Parton et al., 1998). Key submodels include soil water content and temperature by layer, plant production and allocation of net primary production (NPP), decomposition of litter and soil organic matter, mineralization of nutrients, N gas emissions from nitrification and denitrification, and CH4 oxidation in non-saturated soils.

DAYMET (Daily Surface Weather and Climatological Summaries) generates daily, gridded surfaces of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and radiation over large regions and takes into account areas of complex terrain.

DNDC (DeNitrification-DeComposition) is a computer simulation model of carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in agro-ecosystems. The model can be used for predicting crop growth, soil temperature and moisture regimes, soil carbon dynamics, nitrogen leaching, and emissions of trace gases including nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO), dinitrogen (N2), ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Drought calculator  DC - was developed to help ranchers and other rangeland managers assess the impacts of drought on forage production, enabling them to make better informed decisions as to alternative drought strategies.

Economic Research Service Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) - is USDA's primary source of information on the financial condition, production practices, and resource use of America's farm businesses and the economic well-being of America's farm households. ARMS is a nationally representative survey administered using several phases—sample screener, field-level, and farm-level phases—targeting about 5,000 fields and 30,000 farms each year.

ecoSmart Landscapes tool can be used to calculate carbon dioxide sequestration and building energy savings provided by individual trees.

Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit - ARS-These models provide the capacity to synthesize and extend experimental results to a broader scope of biophysical settings and climate zones, as well as addressing climate change issues. 

EPIC (The Environmental Policy Integrated Model) - predicts effects of management decisions on soil, water, nutrient and pesticide movements, and their combined impact on soil loss, water quality, and crop yields for areas with homogeneous soils and management.

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) links Extension educators from across the U.S. and various disciplines, enabling them to use and share resources to reduce the impact of drought and other disasters.

First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM) is a model that predicts first-order fire effects including tree mortality, fuel consumption, emissions (smoke) production, and soil heating caused by prescribed burning or wildfire.

Forecasts of Climate-Associated Shifts in Tree Species (ForeCASTS)Using projections of future climate, ForeCASTS produces maps that depict future suitable habitat ranges for North American tree species in the United States and globally.

Forest CarbonPlus Calculatorr can be used to calculate carbon emissions that are directly related to day-to-day operations of Forest Service facilities and activities of Forest Service employees.

Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) is a family of forest growth simulation models that allow a user to explore how silvicultural treatments may affect growth and yield and, therefore, carbon stocks.

Forest Service Carbon ToolsForest Service tools for carbon inventory, management, and reporting. 

ForWarn is a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool that provides an overview of potential forest disturbances for the conterminous U.S.

Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) quantifies and classifies the structural and geographical diversity of wildland fuels in the United States and predicts their relative fire hazard. Current versions also predict surface fire behavior and quantify carbon stores for each calculated fuelbed.

GEMS (General Ensemble Biogeochemical Modeling System) -  accounts for the impacts of atmospheric and climatic changes (e.g., changes in precipitation and temperature, CO2 enrichment, nitrogen deposition), land use change (e.g., urbanization, forest logging, fire fuel treatment, biofuel crops, tillage, reforestation), natural disturbances and extreme events (land fire, insect outbreak, drought, flooding, hurricane) on ecosystem C balances and GHG emissions.

Global Carbon Atlas lets users explore, visualize and interpret national to global carbon emissions from both human activities and natural processes.

Holos: GHG Software for Farms is computer software program designed to help farmers estimate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their entire, integrated farm operation as a whole system. It is a tool to test possible ways of reducing these emissions from farms by use of a “possible scenario” system.

ipmPIPE (Pest Information Platform for Extension & Education)The mission of IPM PIPE is to realize a dynamic, integrated national system facilitated by information technology that provides centralized, useful tools with reliable information for IPM practitioners. IPM PIPE's vision is to help maximize economic returns, and improve social welfare and environmental health by promotion of efficient and coordinated IPM decision support systems.

i-Treeis a peer-reviewed software suite that allows users to assess the benefits provided by urban trees. Some applications give estimates of the benefits that trees provide related to greenhouse gas mitigation and building energy savings.

iWheatTo increase adoption of IPM tools in the AWPM program, a readily accessible and easy to use website was developed (iWheat). This site is based on farm level processess, while allowing for field specific management of key insect pests, weeds, and pathogens. The iWheat decision support system will be unified by focusing on regional and local pest detection and evaluation, farm and field level pest management, and reduced risk pest management approaches.

LANDFIRE (Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools) is a vegetation, fire and fuel characteristics mapping program.

MC1 (MAPSS-Century 1) was created to assess the potential impacts of global climate change on ecosystem structure and function. Users can access maps, datasets, and publications that were created using this model.

Methods for Calculating Forest Ecosystem and Harvested Carbon with Standard Estimates for Forest Types of the U.S. This study presents techniques for calculating average net annual additions to carbon in forests and in forest products. Forest ecosystem carbon yield tables, representing stand-level merchantable volume and carbon pools as a function of stand age, were developed for 51 forest types within 10 regions of the U.S. Separate tables were developed for afforestation and reforestation. Because carbon continues to be sequestered in harvested wood, approaches to calculate carbon sequestered in harvested forest products are included. Although these calculations are simple and inexpensive to use, the uncertainty of results obtained by using representative average values may be high relative to other techniques that use site- or project-specifc data. The estimates and methods in this report are consistent with guidelines being updated for the U.S. Voluntary Reporting of GHG Program and with guidelines developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

NASA - CASA Global CQUEST - Carbon Query and Evaluation Support Tools application provides datasets and a geographical data viewer that support large-scale carbon inventory. Users can display global data on net primary productivity, net ecosystem productivity, and other variables interactively as a map and obtain data values in tabular format.

National Agricultural Statistics Service Agricultural CensusThe Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States. Participation by every farmer and rancher, regardless of the size or type of operation, is vitally important. By responding to the Census, producers are helping themselves, their communities and all of U.S. agriculture.

National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data LayerThe Cropland Data Layer (CDL) was created by the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Research and Development Division, Geospatial Information Branch, Spatial Analysis Research Section. The most current data is available free for download along with extensive metadata, FAQs, and other detailed technical information. NASS developed both the CropScape and VegScape web services in cooperation with the Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) -produces drought monitoring tools and information to help people assess drought severity and impacts

National Drought Overview (NOAA)National drought information from 1999 through present. Includes regional and state information, and information on drought indicators.

National Land Cover Database products are created through a cooperative project conducted by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium. NLCD 2006 is designed to provide the user both updated land cover data and additional information that can be used to identify the pattern, nature, and magnitude of changes occurring between 2001 and 2006 for the conterminous United States at medium spatial resolution.

National Resources Inventory (NRI)A statistical survey of land use and natural resource conditions and trends on U.S. non-Federal lands.

National Water and Climate Center (NRCS)A map system linking to NRCS monitoring station data. Includes data on snow, precipitation, soil, reservoir storage, and streamflow.

National Water Information Systems (NWIS) provides information about water quantity and quality collected at over 1.5 million sites around the U.S. As a long-term database and information delivery system, NWIS provides continual access to data collected over the last 100+ years, as well as real-time data on streamflow.

Nutrient Tracking Tool - compares agricultural management systems to calculate a change in nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment loss potential, and crop yield. Agricultural producers and land managers can enter a baseline management system and an alternative conservation management system and produce a report showing the nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment loss potential, and crop yield difference between the two systems. 

Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator and ResourcesThese resources include: A review of available literature and information related to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from pork production; A summary or “scan level” life-cycle assessment of energy use and emissions across the entire pork chain, including feed crop production, feed formulation, swine production, transportation, meat processing and retail components; A detailed, in-depth life-cycle assessment of the on-farm animal production component covering all aspects of raising the animals, including manure-management practices; and A producer-friendly software tool called the Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator. It calculates the greenhouse gas emissions involved in sow and grow-finish production, which can help producers identify areas for potential improved efficiency.

U.S. Drought PortalThe National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) collection of drought-related products, tools, regional programs and other resources.

U.S. Seasonal Drought OutlookA seasonal drought outlook prepared by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. Provides large-scale trends guided by short and long-range statistical and dynamic forecasts.

VegScape Vegetative Condition Explorer provides vegetative condition at daily, weekly, and biweekly intervals.

Watershed Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP)The WEPP model consists of multiple applications that can estimate erosion and sediment processes on hillslopes and small watersheds, taking into account climate, land use, site disturbances, vegetation, and soil properties.

Weather Prediction Center (WPC)A collection of surface analysis, short rage and long range forecasts, quantitative precipitation forecasts, and more.

Wind Erosion Prediction System – WEPS - predicts many forms of soil erosion by wind including PM-10. It replaces the Wind Erosion Equation in use prior to January, 2008.