Healthy forests, healthy Idaho

Our forests are a miracle at work

What if the healthiest forests in America were in Idaho? 

The men and women who work in Idaho's forest products industry think that it is not only possible, they're leading the way to help this vision become a reality.  Forest professionals in Idaho are pioneering cutting edge technology in Idaho's forests and wood products manufacturing facilities. We work together to ensure Idaho's forests are healthy, not just today, but forever. 

What is a healthy forest? 

A healthy forest provides clean air and water, habitat for wildlife, incredible recreational opportunities and wood products that we couldn't live without for generations to come. A healthy forest is resilient. When our forests are healthy, Idaho is healthy.  

What happens when a forest isn't healthy?

When a forest isn't healthy, it is susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, the effects of which need no explanation to those of us who live and breathe in the West.  Catastrophic wildfire destroys wildlife habitat, creates unhealthy air, soil and water, and causes loss of property and human lives. 

Why is forest management a climate solution?

Climate change is contributing to extreme conditions that are impacting the health of Idaho's forests and communities.  Rising temperatures result in longer wildfire seasons, early snowpack melt, drought and smoke-filled air.  Active forest management helps make our forests more resilient to these threats and provides natural wood products that store carbon and serve as sustainable alternatives to more energy-intensive materials.  Healthy, growing trees remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

What is active forest management?

Actively managing our forests means using cutting edge technology to map forest health from the air to inform what we do on the ground. It means thinning dead and dying trees and prescribing controlled burning to minimize fuels that lead to catastrophic wildfires. Active management means harvesting and replanting trees in our working forests while protecting air and water quality and wildlife habitat. 

Forest manufacturing is high tech

Did you know that some forest products facilities use computerized tomography (CT) scans in their manufacturing processes?  This technology allows them to utilize nearly 100% of every log as efficiently as possible.  It's just one example of how modernized wood products manufacturing facilities have become in Idaho.  Wood products manufacturers are continuously improving processes to create the reliable wood and paper products we use every single day.  

Idaho collaborates for forest health

The Good Neighbor Authority is an excellent example of how Idaho is leading the way in collaborating for forest health.  GNA allows state and federal entities to work together to improve forest health in our national forests and boost the economies of local timber communities.  

Can you play a role in making Idaho's forest healthier? 

Yes! By doing threes simple things:  1) Understand and support active forest management activities, 2) protect and care for Idaho's forest while you are driving and recreating within them and, 3) choose the reliable, recyclable products that come from wood. 

Together we can manage to create the healthiest forests in America right here in our own backyard.

Want to dig deeper into Idaho forests?

Idaho forests are a miracle at work.  They provide an incredible array of resources for things we can’t imagine living without: clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, products we use everyday and healthy habitats for fish and wildlife. But the environmental benefits of forests go even deeper.  Forests provide a myriad of ecosystem services that benefit all living things including humans, who enjoy quality recreation and cultural experiences in Idaho’s urban and rural forests.

Forest ecosystem services can be broken down into three major categories:

  • Provisional (water, food and materials) 
  • Regulating (air and soil)
  • Supporting (habitat and biodiversity)

FOREST FACT: 63% of Idaho’s water supply comes from its forests.

Insects, disease, humans and fire all play a role in a natural forest ecosystem.  But fire suppression, climate change and human encroachment on forests have created conditions that are leading to more catastrophic fires that threaten wildlife habitat, precious resources, watersheds, homes and lives. Click here to learn more about threats to our forest.  Learn about the environmental benefits of forests including how forests: provide water, food and materials; regulate air and soil quality; and support habitat and biodiversity. Learn even more useful information about the environmental benefits of forests with links to materials and other websites.

Click on the image to learn what makes a forest ecosystem and its dynamic cycles in this short Forest Fast Break video, or click here.


Learn about forest ecosystem services from Idaho-based Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystem Services (MILES)