What can be done to reduce threats to our forests?
When our forests aren’t healthy, our quality of life suffers
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. When our forests aren’t healthy, our quality of life suffers.
Managed Forests Are Healthy Forests
Forest management is about change management – forests have always changed and will continue to change. Active forest management can help shape this change. Today in Idaho there are many opportunities for change management through the use of thinning, fuel removal and prescribed burning. The idea of no management or “let nature take its course” has become less appealing to the public as more people live within and near forests.
Active Management Techniques
There is disagreement over the best way to address the problem, but most experts feel that current conditions call for active management, including varying combinations of thinning, fuel removal and prescribed burning.
Thinning reduces the density of a forest and allows forest managers to adjust species composition, which can lead to a healthier forest. Thinning reduces susceptibility to bark beetles and increases the health of remaining trees.
Many healthy forests today are growing on clearcuts from a few decades ago.
Reducing hazardous fuels through prescribed fire and other tools is one of the key components of the National Fire Plan. In addition, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act added additional emphasis to reduce fuel concentrations and threats of non-characteristic wildland fires, especially in the wildland urban interface.
Disease Resistant Planting Stock
Planting blister rust-resistant planting stock allows the maintenance of western white pine in native forests. Also planting ponderosa pine and larch increases species diversity.
Pheromones are used to monitor and manipulate bark beetle populations
Insecticides provide direct control and protect high value trees.