Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase County by Darci Paull, GIS specialist with the Kansas Forest Service.
The Kansas Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy helps focus and leverage limited financial resources to address seven priority issues that threaten or benefit the state’s 4.5 million acres of rural and community forests, shelterbelts and trees. Our forest action plan is organized around strategies to address three Issues that Threaten Kansas Forest Health (Wildfire Risk, Forest Health Threats, Loss of Forest Land) and four Forest Resource Benefits and Services (Water Quality and Quantity, Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat, Forest and Agroforestry Ecosystems, Economic Benefits of Woodlands). Each strategy identifies priority landscapes where the issue will be addressed and also notes corresponding national objectives, applicable USDA Forest Service State and Private Programs, necessary fiscal resources to address the issues, and performance measures to determine success.
Restoring biodiversity and wildlife habitat and sustaining healthy working woodlands
Forest products (wood, lumber, paper) and related industries contribute $2.1 billion annually to the Kansas economy and supports more than 9,000 jobs. Currently only one-third of green woody biomass produced annually by wood manufacturing is available for use as a wood energy feedstock. A biomass market will be developed for the utilization of eastern redcedar. A community of interest and support for utilization of eastern redcedar biomass will be developed with multiple stakeholders.
Protecting against wildfire, pests and other forest health threats
Riparian forests are more efficient than any other vegetation at stabilizing streambanks and keeping sediment out of streams, rivers and reservoirs. Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy stakeholder groups in priority watersheds will guide the protection, management, and establishment of riparian forests. Forest Stewardship Management plans will guide implementation of Best Management Practices within targeted watersheds. The Forest Legacy Program will be used to bring targeted riparian forests under protection.
Sustaining the woodland resource base, water quality and quantity, and other ecosystem services
The most serious threats to Kansas forests are pests including emerald ash borer; thousand cankers disease of black walnut; pine wilt; and exotic invasive plants like tamarisk, Russian olive, and Amur honeysuckle, which destroy the biodiversity of our forests, woodlands, and riparian areas. To deal with thousand cankers disease, a state quarantine will be established to regulate the movement of black walnut along with systematic monitoring and trapping to ensure early detection. A community tree assessment protocol will inventory pine, walnut, and ash in Kansas communities to estimate removal and replacement costs.
Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502
Larry Biles, State Forester
Robert (Bob) Atchison, Rural Forestry Section Leader