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Colorado Small Acreage Management - Improving land stewardship by helping landowners understand and manage their property resources (soil, water, animals, plants, and air).

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Colorado has roughly 22 million acres of forest, of which nearly 7 million are privately owned. We recommend that forest landowners take on the responsibility of managing their forests to reduce the potential for damages caused by wildfire, insect outbreaks, and disease infestations.

Steps to manage your forest property:

  1. Understand your resource,
  2. Develop your objectives,
  3. Schedule your activities,
  4. Implement your plan.

A Forest Stewardship Plan is a cost-effective way to document your forest property management plan and understand your management approach. Start by:

Small Acreage Forest Condition Assessment

Conduct a basic assessment for your forest land

Need Help Identifying your trees?

These resources can help!

Learn more about the forest management process

Reasons to Manage the Density of Your Forested Land

  • Wintertrail photoImprove Forest Health – Well managed forests are more resistant to diseases and insect damage such as mountain pine beetle, Armillaria Root Disease, or dwarf mistletoe which are just a few of the major forest health concerns that landowners face in CO. Reduce stress in forest stands to promote natural resistance and diminish susceptibility to damage.
  • Reduce Wildfire Hazard – Thin overstocked or high density forests to allow a potential high severity crown fire to drop to the ground as a low severity fire that can be suppressed more readily with less damaging effects to soil, water, and plant resources. Create strategic “fuel breaks” or “defensible space” to protect your home and property.

  • Increase Wildlife Habitat – We can manage forests for fish and wildlife; thin overstocked or high density forests. This will allow sunlight and precipitation to reach the ground and encourage herbaceous cover, such as grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs, for birds and other wildlife to consume. Additionally, create habitat for wildlife and forage that will make your garden safe from wildlife damage.
  • Protect Water and Soil – healthy forests keep soils from eroding, and protect our water quality. The loss of vegetation caused by a wildfire will cause soils to erode and reduce the forest’s ability to retain snowpack for a more sustained runoff in the spring and summer. Eroding soils can also pollute our water supply with sediments and excess nutrients. Utilize Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) to significantly add to the beneficial stewardship of our forestlands and ensure adequate protection of our vital water resources.
  • Save Money – Plan for management activities, reduce the spread of noxious weeds, and decrease fuels available for a wildfire to consume will all help to reduce costs and inputs to your land and allow for multiple benefits. Utilize management techniques on your forest; this will far out-weigh the costs of unexpected silvicultural operations, weed suppression, fire suppression, property loss, and post-fire rehabilitation that could be caused by a wildfire. Additionally, a healthy forest is a more productive forest and can increase potential income opportunities.

CPW Highlights a Forest Restoration Project:

Own just a few acres of forested land?

We can help!

A significant proportion of small acreage landowners possess just a few acres and maintain the property as a lifestyle choice. While the principles behind managing these small parcels are the same, the route with which management ensues can differ significantly. However, the resource concerns (weed invasions, poor tree health, poor wildlife habitat, etc.) and ability for the property condition to decline over time without proper management remains considerable.


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Defensible space diagram

Photo by CAL FIRE


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