Insect Attacks May Benefit Colorado Forests
Forests change. Disturbance including insects and fires are frequently part of the regenerative process. Rarely is it possible or desirable to maintain a forest at some seemingly idyllic stage of succession. Forest health - including services provided such as water - require managing to maintain natural processes. In the overgrown western U.S., fires and insects are resetting the system in response to years of fire suppression and changing climate. They are doing so in a way that will lead to adaptive and renewed forests, with far improved outcomes than logging could ever hope to achieve. Bush's "Forest Health" initiative will only exacerbate the negative situation. These forests are still extensive and large enough that letting them be is the best forest health prescription.
The unprecedented insect outbreak ravaging Colorado forests may eventually result in thriving hillsides of aspen, improved stream flows and attractive habitat for the lynx and showshoe hare, a new report says.