Tree Frog Forestry News

The struggle to save Colorado’s forests in a changing world

By Liz Forster
Out There Colorado
April 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

When Mike Battaglia walked into the woods of the Pike National Forest on a sunny, late winter day, he pointed to the mature ponderosa pines — their needles assembled into bulbous groups, their burnt-orange bark furrowed into scaly plates and the buds of their egg-shaped cones. …“Ponderosa pines are tough,” said the Fort Collins-based U.S. Forest Service research forester. “They can handle fire and drought.” But then, he noted the saplings tall enough to prove that wildfire — natural or prescribed — has not run through the hill just south of the town of Buffalo Creek. A spot like this should burn every 20 to 40 years, Battaglia said, and it hasn’t. If a wildfire sparks here, fast-moving flames could explode out of the abundance of dry fuels. That, in turn, could hurt soil retention, watershed health, wildlife habitat and even carbon emissions.

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