Restoring western forests the aim of a USU conference next week

Forests in the western U.S. have been shaped, and often degraded by fires, invasive species, pests, climate change, livestock grazing, and logging. Forest managers have taken various approaches to restore these forests, with varying levels of success.

The ‘Restoring the West’ Conference on October 17th and 18th at Utah State University will gather leading forest restoration experts to review and suggest techniques that can sustain and restore Interior West forests.

On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, Darren McAvoy, project coordinator from the USU College of Natural Resources said what the conference hopes to accomplish.

“What we’ve tried to do,” McAvoy said, “is provide research based information for forest managers to come and have an exchange of information with forest management (and) scientists.

“This exchange is a really important part of our conference so that scientists come away with new ideas and what studies to pursue and managers come away with what kind of actions they can take out on the ground to help restore forest lands in Utah and surrounding states.”

McAvoy said change is a constant when it comes to our forests, “we call that change – succession over time. Forests will start off after a fire, for example….with a pioneer species. In Utah it’s our Quakies, our Aspen, one of our common pioneer species and over time that will shade the forest floor and change the environment on the forest floor from a sunny one to a shady one and that’s more favorable for other trees like firs or spruces, for example.”

He said with the change in climate, increases in wildland fire over the last decade or so and recent bark beetle activity things are changing more quickly. To find out more about the conference and to register, visit <a href=”http://www.RestoringTheWest.org” target=”_blank”>www.RestoringTheWest.org</a>.

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