Currently forests across the Rocky Mountains are exhibiting various health problems. Many of the forest stands are at the end of their life cycles. Add drought and overcrowding to the equation and you have the perfect recipe for potentially disastrous results.
They key to healthy forests is recognizing problems and then utilizing sustainable forestry practices to remedy those issues. For example:
- Many of the forests in the Rocky Mountain area are relatively old or overly dense.
- Lodgepole pine and aspen stands are short-lived pioneer species. Most of the Lodgepole pine and aspen forests in the Rocky Mountains are now 120-150 years old or more.
- Spruce forests in the Rockies are generally over 250 years old.
- Ponderosa pine forests are younger, but are generally too dense due to fire exclusion and lack of timely thinning.
- Piñon pine and juniper woodlands are old and dense due to fire exclusion.
- Exotic competitors have been introduced, notably cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), knapweeds (Centauria maculosa), and tamarisk (Tamarix spp).
- Climate change may be moving species elevational ranges up or down.
So what does this mean? Old and unhealthy trees are even more suseptible to problems. Insect attacks, disease outbreaks, and increased individual tree mortality are all indicators of forest health issues. Click to learn more about specific forest health problems:
Short Forestry has over 35 years of experience in diagnosing and prescribing treatments for diseases, insect infestations, and other forest health problems. Let us answer any questions you have about possible forest health problems and offer you real, sustainable solutions.