Miller, S. et al. 2018. Back to the Future: Building resilience in Colorado Front Range forests using research findings and a new guide for restoration of ponderosa and dry-mixed conifer landscapes. Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 28. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 16 p.
Historically, the ponderosa and dry mixed-conifer forests of the Colorado Front Range were more open and grassy, and trees of all size classes were found in a grouped arrangement with sizable openings between the clumps. As a legacy of fire suppression, today’s forests are denser, with smaller trees. Proactive restoration of this forest type will help to reduce fuel loads and the risk of large and severe wildfires in the Colorado Front Range. Using the best-available information on the historical conditions of these forests to develop "desired conditions" for restoration, the Rocky Mountain Research Station has published Principles and Practices for the Restoration of Ponderosa Pine and Dry Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Colorado Front Range (RMRS-GTR-373).
This guide was produced and reviewed by a range of scientists and managers from federal agencies, environmental non-profits, and academia to address the unique forest structure and fire regime of this area as well as synthesize current Front Range forest science. It aims to help the management community understand the desired conditions for these forests, the principles behind the restoration recommendations made, and steps for implementing the principles. The guide is being released with a companion document, Visualization of Heterogeneous Forest Structures Following Treatment in the Southern Rocky Mountains, (RMRS-GTR-365) which allows users to "see" what the recommended treatments may look like at the stand level.