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Analysis of Conifer Mortality in Colorado Using Forest Inventory and Analysis's Annual Forest Inventory

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Aerial detection surveys indicate that widespread conifer mortality has been steadily increasing in Colorado, particularly since 2002. The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) annual inventory system began in Colorado in 2002, which coincided with the onset of elevated conifer mortality rates. The current mortality event coupled with collection of 6 years of annual inventory data provided an opportunity to test the usefulness of the FIA annual inventory system for quantifying rapid change in the conifer resource over a large geographic area. The estimate of conifer mortality during the 2002‐2007 period indicated an average of 44 million trees that died each year, which represents more than twice the average recorded in the 1997‐2002 period. The estimate of insect-killed lodgepole pine averaged 10.5 million trees during the 2002‐2007 period, which represents a 10-fold increase compared with the estimate recorded for the 1997‐2002 mortality period.

Keywords: FIA; bark beetles; conifer; forest inventory; mortality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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