Forest Changes in Utah

Forest Changes in Utah

If you love Utah’s trees as much as we do, you may be interested in learning about the changes that have taken place throughout the state in Utah’s natural forest areas. Global Forest Watch monitors changes in forests throughout the world and is a cool resource for details on overall world climate impacts, fire data, deforestation, growth, and more. Their website states: “In 2010, Utah had 252Mha of natural forest, extending over 29% of its land area. In 2021, it lost 1.71Mha of natural forest, equivalent to 768Mt of CO₂ emissions.” From 2000 to 2020, Utah lost about 4.1% of tree cover. We still have about 2.65MHa (million hectares), which equals about 6.5 million acres, of stable forest, and Utah is not considered to be in alert for deforestation. There are programs in place for forest gains in an attempt to slow any losses.

The three regions within the state with the highest tree cover loss are Utah County at number three, Summit County in second place, and Duchesne County at the top of the list. Tree cover loss is often a result of forest fires, natural and human caused. In Utah, our peak fire season hits in early June and continues for about four months. Global Forest Watch estimates about 141kha (348,418 acres) of tree cover was lost in fires between 2001 and 2021, with 2018 as the worst year—97% of tree cover loss that year was a result of fires. So far in 2022, 650ha (1,606 acres) of Utah land has burned, which is considered normal for our state compared to previous years. “The most fires recorded in a year was 2007, with 210kha,” which is about 518,921 acres.

Utah has five National Forests, plus two portions of forests that are mostly in Idaho. The USDA Forest Service department states that National Forest land in Utah covers 9,155,521 acres. These five main National Forests are Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake (check out the incredible Pando here), Manti-La Sal, and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache. The two portions which lie mostly in Idaho are Sawtooth and Caribou-Targhee. The USDA Forest Service understands the importance of our beautiful forests, saying: “The national forests in Utah cover a tremendous diversity of landscapes and ecosystems, from the mountains along the Wasatch Front that provide drinking water to Salt Lake City, to the plateaus and mountains of central Utah known for their motorized trail systems and dispersed recreation opportunities, to the unique redrock landscapes of southern Utah known for year-round recreation, watershed restoration, and timber and rangeland improvements.” There are many projects that help care for this land that serves so many people.

Trees in our forests are not only beautiful, they are also critical to our health and lifestyle. The trees in our neighborhoods and cities are just as important. To ensure your trees stay at their peak health, give them the proper care that they need. Trimming, pruning, firebreak clearing, and emergency removal are all services we offer here at Time Ridge Tree Service to keep Utah trees growing strong.