Forest Health Monitoring in the Interior West: A Baseline Summary of Forest Issues, 1996-1999

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Although forest health may be difficult to define and measure, a strong demand exists for assessment of forest conditions at various state, regional, and national scales. Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) is a national program designed to measure the status, changes, and trends of forest conditions annually. This report presents a broad view of forest health issues affecting the Interior West region of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. We found that the forests of the Interior West have changed considerably in the past century. What is more difficult to assess is whether humans have promoted change that is irreversible, or whether the change we see in the forested landscape is within healthy bounds. Discussions of forest health and forest cover change, the developed and wildland interface, insect and disease disturbances, watershed health, biodiversity, and air quality comprise the body of this report.

This initial report sets the stage for more in-depth reports on forest health in the Interior West by introducing the FHM program, defining "the forest" regionally, discussing prominent issues, and displaying summary FHM data taken from 19961999. A website address is provided on the inside back cover of this report to solicit reader suggestions for improving future FHM reports.


Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-75

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