Study Identifies Most Important Sites to Protect in Central CO Forests
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
GUNNISON, Colo. - A new report identifies the areas most valuable for preserving biodiversity and fighting climate change within the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests, which are managed as a unit commonly known as "G-MUG."
Researchers with Conservation Science Partners identified the top 10% of areas of high ecological value. Report coauthor Justin Suraci said he hopes the data will guide the U.S. Forest Service, which is working on a new forest plan for the area, with input from stakeholders, including tribes.
"They have to revise how they're managing the forest in terms of places that they will designate for resource extraction or motor-vehicle use," he said, "versus setting places aside for biodiversity, conservation, et cetera."
People can find the draft proposal and submit public comments on the U.S. Forest Service site now through Friday, Nov. 26. Local groups are submitting a joint Community Conservation Proposal for consideration.
Mike Burkley, an outdoorsman from Paonia in the North Fork Valley, said he's glad places such as the top of Mount Lamborn made the list.
"It's known to be one of the best habitats for black bears in Colorado, and it's got a lot of elk, deer," he said. "Great solitude, incredible scenery. And it's a very important water source for our valley."
Scientists looked at multiple criteria to select the areas of high ecological value, including the amount of carbon they sequester above and below ground, and the number of imperiled species.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
get more stories like this via email
A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …
Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …
As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …
If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…
North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …
Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …
After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …