Forest Mortality Report Middle Rockies Rapid Ecoregional Assessment
The Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) were launched in 2010 to help improve the understanding of existing condition for ecoregions and how conditions may be altered by ongoing environmental changes and land use. They do not allocate resource uses or make management decisions. They provide science-based information and tools for land managers and stakeholders to consider in subsequent resource planning and decision making processes. REAs examine ecological values, conditions, and trends within large, connected areas that have similar environmental characteristics in order to capitalize on efficiency of scale. REAs provide context to make site-specific decisions and conduct analyses for resource management plans and National Environmental Policy Act processes. The REAs seek to identify important resource values and patterns of environmental change that may not be evident when managing smaller, local land areas.
This report contains the Forest Mortality Report Middle Rockies Rapid Ecoregional Assessment.
An especially important component of analysis of this ecoregion is an assessment of the forestry resources within the Middle Rockies; therefore, a Forest Mortality Assessment Report (FMAR) has been performed to compliment the Middle Rockies Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA) conducted to assist the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and others with planning at a landscape scale. The Middle Rockies are estimated to have more than 20 million acres of forest, with most of those acres on federal lands. Based on aerial detection surveys (ADSs) conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, the past several years have seen unprecedented tree mortality on forested lands throughout the Middle Rockies ecoregion. Recent forest mortality resulting from disease and insect infestation is receiving significant local, state, and national attention. Forest mortality is anticipated to be the focus of resource and land management agencies throughout this ecoregion over the near term and long term.
The overall goal of the FMAR was to generate geospatial information focusing on the extent of recent forest mortality (previous 5 years) and anticipated forest mortality (over the next 5 years). More specifically, this analysis was conducted to identify epicenters of high/sustained mortality and to identify broad spatial patterns where adjacent mortality would be likely over the next 5 years.