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ACES Releases Inaugural State of the Forest Report

Posted in Bulletin Board

Report includes unprecedented impacts on the health of our forest due to climate change.

Aspen, Colorado (April 2, 2014) — Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), a non-profit environmental science education center, today released its inaugural 2014 State of the Forest Report for Colorado's Roaring Fork Watershed. This annual report presents a magazine-style in-depth look at the health of our regional forests. This includes climatic factors and insect and disease infestations currently impacting our local forests. It also outlines the steps ACES is taking to improve the health of our forests and what individuals can do to help.

“We hope this publication will help inform policy that promotes managing for healthy forests by federal, state, and local governments as well as NGOs and private citizens living in and around the wildland-urban interface,” said Chris Lane, ACES CEO. “Most of us take for granted how important forests are to our survival and economic prosperity.”

A Critical Resource
Our forests provide a variety of ecosystem services critical to our well-being, from nutrient cycling, erosion control, and regulation of air and water quality, to more overt services such as provision of raw materials, food, recreation, and aesthetic quality. In essence, forests provide an ecological foundation for plant, animal, and human lives.

Our Forests in the Era of Climate Change
Nationally, forests have experienced unprecedented change in the past few decades in the form of tree mortality, insect and disease outbreaks, and larger and more intense wildfires. Here in the Roaring Fork Watershed, our forest is the engine that drives our tourism-based economy. More dramatic changes will likely take place as the climate change projected for the 21st century unfolds. Now is the time for a resurgence of action to protect the health and resiliency of our forests.

A Step Toward Forest Health
The State of the Forest Report, which included feedback from White River National Forest representatives, provides readers with a full understanding of our valley’s forest ecosystem health. It examines trends in temperature, precipitation, fire, stream flow, air and water quality, diseases, drought stress and other such indicators through a lens of climate change variability. It also explains what citizens and land managers can do to be a part of the solution.

“It is our hope that this report will generate discussion and help inform adaptive management efforts to create, among other things, greater forest resiliency, improved wildlife habitat, and reduced fire danger in our valley,” Lane said.

For more information about ACES For the Forest Program, please click here, or contact Jamie Cundiff, Forest Program Director for ACES, at 970-925-5756 and jcundiff@aspennature.org.

All ACES members will receive this report via mail. A digital version is available here.

 

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