Colorado’s Forests: Challenges and Opportunities

The Colorado State Forest Service has produced a series of informative videos covering the challenges in our forests and what can be done and is being done to address these challenges.

Take a look at the Colorado’s Forests: Challenges and Opportunities video series:

Part 1: Background and Forest Issues of Concerns

Part 2: Forest Management as a Solution

Part 3: The Challenge of a Growing WUI

Part 4: The Importance of a Wood Products Industry 

After the Trees Disappear

Ecosystems change when disturbances like emerald ash borers come to town.  Take a look at ‘After the Trees Disappear – Ash Forests After Emerald Ash Borers Destroy Them’ by the New York Times for an example of how large disturbances alter forests.  The emerald ash borer will primarily affect the urban forest in Colorado, but other disturbances (mountain pine beetle, catastrophic fire, etc.) in large swaths of our mountain forests have already had the kind ecosystem altering effects discussed in the article.

Colorado’s first biomass plant begins delivering electricity

While some residents in the small Eagle County town worry about the impact on air quality, supporters hail the plant as a way to boost renewable energy and improve forest health. The biomass facility will burn wood to heat water, and the resulting steam will power a turbine, generating electricity.

Read the full Colorado Public Radio story 

A Note from Aspen Hills

Winter is here and its a great time to look at where we are and what lies ahead in our wildfire mitigation efforts.
Here is a pretty comprehensive article (albeit long) on the current state of affairs in Colorado.
There is a good section on a community that achieved the Firewise Community designation and noticed better insurance rates and improved property values, as a result.
It also discusses Gov. Hickenloopers proposal to increase taxes to property owners in the WildlandUrban-Interface…us.
The article is from the Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction paper, so it doesn’t mention the terrific work of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, which is regional.  But our partnership with CUSP has been instrumental in our designation as a Firewise Community, and we look forward to increased cooperation with them, as well as our partners at the Colorado State Forest Service.
Since our community meeting last Spring, we have added 3 more property owner’s to our grant program.  This brings the total number of properties signed up to 35 out of 63 properties in Aspen Hills.  In addition, we now have a better way of communication between property owners for items of community interest, thanks to Vicki Rector!
This year the property owners that signed up to have their work partially or fully contracted will be getting that work done thanks to our friends at CUSP, who will be overseeing the projects.  For the rest of us doing our own work, we have until Feb. 2015 to complete the work in order to qualify for the grant.  Winter is a good time to cut, although it poses some unique problems, especially when moving felled trees in heavy snow on steep slopes!
I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming year, especially in getting out the information on filling out the required paperwork and keeping track of time for the grant.  As you know there is a push in the U.S. Congress to make more funds available for Wildfire Mitigation and both parties seem to be able to agree on that.  I will try to keep track of and publicize any future grants as they become available.
Please have a wonderful Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!
Very Respectfully,
Greg Jones

A new paper discussing fuels and fire in bark beetle impacted forests is available

A recently published report in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, authored by Michael J. Jenkins, Wesley G. Page, Elizabeth G. Hebertson, and Martin E. Alexander, titled, “Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in Western North America and implications for fire management,” discusses the consequences of the beetle epidemic on fire and fuels .  While the bark beetle is endemic in our area, the discussion and implications can be related to the WPHFI area as we continue to control the beetle outbreaks.