Forest Health Index

To explore the 2014 Forest Health Index, please visit

The Forest Health Index is an interactive, web-based tool for users to explore the health of Roaring Fork Watershed forests.

Profound changes are at work on the nearly 640,000 acres of forested area in the Roaring Fork Valley with important implications for local ecosystems and people. In recognition of this, the Forest Health Index seeks to identify and communicate important trends in the health of our forest resource and its interrelated systems. Although we recognize that forest health is difficult to define and many perspectives on forest health, use, and management exist, the Index will draw on expert scientific input, local stakeholder engagement, and new and existing datasets to monitor trends as they relate to broadly recognized goals.

We are currently tracking over 20 unique climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic indicators, offering a glimpse into both the potential drivers of change and the effects of change in our local forest environment. In addition to consolidating information from existing data sets such as forest stand surveys, weather logs, and wilderness use records, we are generating new soil moisture data from monitoring stations installed by the Aspen Global Change Institute with the support of Pitkin County and the City of Aspen. ACES-trained citizen scientists are also collecting avian migration and plant phenology data through an initiative supported by the National Forest Foundation.

The Forest Health Index is a project of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. ACES is partnering with the Aspen Global Change Institute to design the index, gather and analyze data, engage with stakeholders, and evaluate its scientific accuracy.

Please click here to view the Forest Health Index preview brochure, published in 2013.