FORT COLLINS — The Colorado State Forest Service published its annual forest health report recently, highlighting the current conditions of forests across Colorado and how the agency is improving the health of the state’s forests in the face of persistent drought and historic wildfires.
The report shows how years of dry conditions have stressed forests across the state, creating ideal conditions for insect outbreaks and large, destructive wildfires that threaten Colorado’s communities, water supplies and the many benefits forests provide. The report also emphasizes the need to reduce wildfire fuels through forest management and prepare more communities for inevitable wildfires.
“This is a unique moment for Colorado’s forests,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the CSFS. “Drought continues to spur insect activity in our forests and increase the potential for more record-setting fires like those we’ve seen the last two years, whether that’s acres burned or structures lost. In this report, we look at the trends driving these forest health challenges and what the Colorado State Forest Service is doing to protect our forests and help communities adapt to a new normal for wildfire.”
2021 Key Forest Takeaways
The 2021 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests focuses on “Managing Colorado’s Forests During Drought.” Key takeaways from the report include:
Regional Project Highlights
Each year, the forest health report provides information to the Colorado General Assembly and residents of Colorado about the health and condition of forests across the state. Information for the report comes from an annual aerial forest health survey by the CSFS and U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, as well as field inspections, CSFS contacts with forest landowners and special surveys.
Copies of the 2021 report will be available at all CSFS field offices. A PDF of the report and interactive maps of insect and disease activity are available at bit.ly/ForestHealthReport.
The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) provides professional forestry assistance, wildfire mitigation expertise, and outreach and education to help landowners and communities achieve their forest management goals. The CSFS is a service and outreach agency of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and provides staffing for the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. For more information, visit csfs.colostate.edu.