Colorado forests

US Forest Service

Our Western Slope forests provide a home for birds, big game and other wildlife. They furnish timber for building and firewood. They hold soil in place and prevent erosion, and filter rainwater and snowmelt flowing into streams and rivers. But our forests are in trouble. In parts of the Western Slope, aspens have died out, and conifers have turned reddish brown. To find out what’s affecting these trees, KVNF's Jodi Peterson spoke with forestry experts from Colorado State University and the US Forest Service.

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  • State forest service releases annual report on forest and tree health
  • San Juans, West Elks and Sawatch Range see spruce beetle increase
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  • Second phase of oil and gas drilling on Battlement Mesa approved

Marci Krivonen/Aspen Public Radio

In the future, the forests surrounding Aspen will look different. Already, mountain shrubs are replacing some Aspen stands and changing the complexion of the area, likely due to due a warming climate.

Neighboring Pitkin County is now tracking these shifts on open space properties.  Two local non-profit organizations are helping. The new data is thanks to a pair of towers that’s tracking things like soil moisture and temperature.

Headlines

  • State Lawmakers to Review Bills on Water, Wildfire, & Poverty
  • Ruptured Pipe Leaks Contaminated Water at Cañon City Uranium Mill
  • Pitkin County Tracking Changes to Forests
  • Republican Lawmakers Criticize Patagonia's Involvement in Fracking Debate

Patty Kaech-Feder

Though we’re barely a week into August, some signs of fall have started to appear in western Colorado.

Headlines:

  • Forest report reveals damage by spruce beetles
  • Miners back to work at Elk Creek in Somerset
  • $895 million price tag to clean uranium tailings from Arkansas River
  • Controlled burns planned for some 12,000 acres on Western Slope
  • Increased ozone linked to oil and gas drilling in Eastern Utah
  • Playoff time for local hoops players, wrestlers go to state

2012 Forest Health Report

Feb 21, 2013

The spruce beetle is now outpacing the mountain pine beetle as the biggest insect threat to Colorado forests. The information was released to lawmakers in the annual Forest Health Report on Wednesday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.