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Comprehensive inventory of forest health trends in New Mexico

Date: September 09, 2015


Background

The public, forest managers, and scientists now have the most comprehensive inventory of forest health trends in New Mexico’s history. The report New Mexico’s Forest Resources, 2008-2012, summarizes the most recent inventory of New Mexico’s forests based on field data collected from more than 3,000 forest areas between 2008 and 2012.

Research

For the first time in many years, forest scientists, managers, and users have access to a comprehensive forest inventory based on field data collected from 2008–2012 covering more than 3,000 forest areas in the State of New Mexico. The information provided in a report, “New Mexico’s Forest Resources, 2008-2012,” describes the growth and mortality rates of trees across the state, as well as the effects of droughts; the status of aspen; impacts of insects, diseases, and other damaging agents; the extent of wildfires; and the effects of invasive and noxious weeds.

Thompson Ridge Fire: Jemez Mountains June 2013
Thompson Ridge Fire, Jemez Mountains, taken from the Valles Caldera Bonca Bonita site, June 2013
New Mexico’s forests blanket a wide variety of environments, from the mesquite and juniper woodlands in the southern deserts and steppes, to the timber forests in the southern Rocky Mountains. These diverse forests provide watershed, recreational and scenic values; wildlife habitats; traditional resources such as food and dyes; wood products; and the economic benefits that accompany all of these resources and values.

As New Mexico’s forest inventory enters its second cycle in 2015, the existence of remeasurement data will enable more robust analyses of trends in forest dynamics. Researchers will continue to study forest health trends and plan to publish updates every five years. Given that, 44 percent of New Mexico’s forest lands – and most of the State’s commercial timber harvests – are tied to private and tribal lands, it is critical that the Forest Inventory and Analysis program work with the State of New Mexico and landowners to share this inventory and enlist their support in obtaining sample data from private forest lands.

Virgin Canyon/Virgin Mesa, west of Jemez Springs, NM
View of Virgin Canyon/Virgin Mesa, west of Jemez Springs, NM, Jemez Mountains; September 2013

Key findings

  • For the first time in many years, forest scientists, managers, and users have access to a comprehensive forest inventory based on field data collected from 2008–2012 covering more than 3,000 forest areas in the State of New Mexico.
  • As New Mexico’s forest inventory enters its second cycle in 2015, the existence of remeasurement data will enable more robust analyses of trends in forest dynamics.
  • Researchers will continue to study forest health trends and plan to publish updates every five years.

Featured Publications

Goeking, Sara A. ; Shaw, John D. ; Witt, Christopher ; Thompson, Michael T. ; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr. ; Amacher, Michael C. ; Stuever, Mary ; Morgan, Todd A. ; Sorenson, Colin B. ; Hayes, Steven W. ; McIver, Chelsea P. , 2014


Principal Investigators: 
Forest Service Partners: 
Warren Cohen, Pacific Northwest Research Station
External Partners: 
Sam Goward, University of Maryland
Jeff Masek, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Cheng Huang, University of Maryland
Jennifer Dungan, NASA Ames Research Center
Mary Meyer, Colorado State University