Forest and Ecosystem Health

Our forests sustain us

Fifty years ago, ACES was founded on the idea that we have a responsibility to protect the ecosystems that sustain us. Ten years ago, ACES merged with For the Forest to better address the threats facing our local forests.

In Colorado, our forests are crucial to our wellbeing and survival. In an arid state with an ever-increasing population, forested watersheds provide the vast majority of our water. Many of our communities thrive economically because of the beautiful forest and wild places that surround them. It has become apparent that by protecting our forests, we are protecting the way of life we've come to love.

Across the state, many of our forests are struggling. Conifer forests are dealing with bark beetle infestations larger and more severe than any on record. Many aspen stands are also in decline as a result of prolonged drought and high temperatures. Forests of every type are experiencing larger and more severe wildfires.

Many of these threats to forest health can be traced back to human actions. Climate change has resulted in warmer temperatures and drier conditions across the state. Fire suppression has created forests older and denser than would naturally occur. 

ACES' Forest Program is working to reverse these trends. Learn more about our aggressive program of restoration, education, and new research.

Forest Health Projects

In many places, humans have caused profound damage to our ecosystems. If we can begin repairing that damage, then we have a responsibility to do so. ACES has worked to restore over 1,000 acres of forest through prescribed fire, thinning, noxious weed removal, biochar, and water diversion removal.

Forest Health Index

Healthy forests are essential for a healthy Colorado. Forest health depends on a stable climate and robust ecosystems. The Forest Health Index (FHI) tracks these conditions for 38 forested watersheds across Colorado.

State of the Forest Report

Each year, ACES produces a State of the Forest Report for the Roaring Fork Watershed. These magazine style publications feature updates on the condition of local forests, the work of ACES' Forest Programs, and features on timely forest issues.