Healthy Forest Initiative
Colorado's forests have changed a lot in the last 150 years. Fire suppression and over-grazing have resulted in forests with higher tree densities and uncharacteristic species composition. As a result, the overall diversity and health of forest ecosystems has sharply declined.
In Colorado's forests, fire is a crucial disturbance mechanism for maintaining ecosystem health. Prior to western civilization's poor forest management and fire suppression, Colorado experienced frequent and regular fire events. Thought many people consider wildfire to be negative, ironically it's the absence of these events that has led to many of the forest health issues we see today.
Our restoration treatments mimic the presence of fire by restoring our forests to a structure and composition more representative of how they were structured prior to wester influence. Restored forests have a higher degree of resilience to wildfire, pests, and diseases.
When creating a Forest Conservation Plan, we consider all of these ecosystem services to ensure we're providing a holistic and ecology-based end product.
Why restore our forests?
The Fort Collins Conservation District’s (FCCD) Healthy Forest Initiative began in 2016 after Larimer County’s 2012 High Park Fire to address upper watershed resource concerns including forest health, water quality, and wildlife habitat.
Before and after treatment results from an LCD project in Upper Cherokee Park, Larimer County. By removing trees in strategic locations, the ecosystem structure and composition is restored to a state that better supports wildlife and promotes forest health and wildfire risk reduction.