Assessing Landscape-Scale Forest Reference and Current Conditions

Rio Tusas – Lower San Antonio Landscape, near Taos NM

NAU’s Quantitative Ecology and Silviculture labs, working with Gilbert Vigil and collaborators proposed development of a three-year, multi-jurisdictional, multi-partner planning process to assess and prioritize ecological needs within the Rio Tusas-Lower San Antonio (RTLSA) landscape of the Carson National Forest (CNF) in Rio Arriba County. Working closely, this collaborative will prioritize treatment areas, develop the project’s purpose and need, and complete the NEPA process for the landscape. This landscape-level plan will encompass approximately 160,000 acres on the central and northeastern portions of the Tres Piedras Ranger District (TPRD) and·will be developed in concert with a separately-funded Bureau of Land Management (BLM) analysis area currently being developed for nearly 430,000 acres immediately east of the RTLSA border. The collaborators will work together to identify and prioritize landscape-scale restoration opportunities within whole watersheds and across jurisdictional boundaries. Particular areas of emphasis will be: restoration of desired conditions in frequent fire ecosystems, improvements to wildlife habitat and forest and watershed health, and restoration of the ecological process of fire and its associated effects on forest structure.