The Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources identifies important forest landscapes across all ownerships based on an analysis of key data layers. Products of the Assessment include a map of important forest landscapes and a description of the threats and priorities for those areas. The Assessment identifies 15 threats/priorities including forest health, wildfire management, the need for a viable forest products industry, the decline of riparian forests, the challenge of community forestry in Wyoming, protection of water quality and quantity, and more. The Statewide Resource Strategy describes the strategies and tactics that can be used by landowners and land managers to address the threats and priorities identified by the Assessment. The Strategy also identifies stakeholders, partners, and resources needed for implementation. The Strategy provides management direction that should help land managers plan activities and allocate limited state, private, and federal resources.
Conserving working forests by promoting sound forest management practices
A viable forest products industry is essential to enable effective forest management on a meaningful scale. The forest products industry is a partner in forest management, and without it, proposed management projects become quite expensive. The forest products industry in Wyoming has been shrinking for some time in terms of number of mills. A predictable, dependable supply of forest products is critical to retaining the forest products industry infrastructure in the state.
Protecting forest resources and other values against wildfire and forest health threats while preparing to manage new forests
The threat of fire in the WUI is significant and expanding. This impacts fire suppression strategies, tactics, and costs, and also impacts firefighter and public safety. Private property rights are important in Wyoming, and regulations to address building in the WUI are often not practical. Wildfires in areas outside of the WUI are also a threat. Conditions on some landscapes are no longer within normal fire regimes or fire return intervals, the result of effective fire suppression, limited forest management, and climatic factors. With more intense fires there is the risk of the loss of ecosystem components, such as large trees, plus risk of damage to other resources, such as water quality.
Enhancing benefits through improved management of Wyoming’s varied forest resources in communities, riparian areas, and mountain ranges
Wyoming is facing unprecedented forest health issues. Entomologists have stated that it is an anomaly for all of the major bark beetles to be at epidemic levels at the same time. In some areas, mortality in mature trees of a species is likely to approach 100 percent. Additionally, whitebark pine and limber pine stands are experiencing significant mortality from a combination of white pine blister rust and mountain pine beetle. There are a number of factors involved, including forest stand conditions, a lack of active forest management or effective fire supression methods, and climatic factors including drought and the effects of climate change. In many areas, age class diversity is lacking, leaving large parts of forests susceptible to a particular damaging agent at the same time. Increased age class diversity and species diversity where practical would result in a more resilient, sustainable forest.