Sustainable Use & Management
Human activities abound in our local forest, from skiing and mountain biking to backpacking and horseback riding. Another realm of activity is the work of land managers, who tend to the state of the forest by setting policies for a mix of uses, regulating users of the forest, and implementing on-the-ground treatments to accomplish tasks such as restoration, trail building, fire prevention, or hazard mitigation. The public goal Sustainable Use & Management evaluates magnitudes of changes in human activities where such data exists, the capability of managers to achieve various forest health related objectives, and the overarching environmental variables that can affect the ability of individual users or managers to accomplish sustainability goals in their interaction with the forest.
To create an index for Sustainable Use & Management, we have selected indicators that include metrics of the human footprint in the forest and measurements of management achievement. For instance, the metric of population capacity utilizes water utility data to highlight the increased capacity for population that has been developed in Aspen since the 1970s. This infrastructure enables increased activities in wilderness areas and elsewhere in the forest, which place pressures on management to handle sustainably. Additionally, climatic variables such as snowpack, temperature, and precipitation constrain the aspirations of forest managers or, in the case of fire risk, add additional responsibilities for managers.