BLM Idaho Forests and Woodlands
BLM manages approximately 770,000 acres of forest lands and approximately 300,000 acres of woodland (pinyon – juniper) throughout Idaho. BLM manages forests with the goal of maintaining healthy forest ecosystems, resilient landscapes, clean water, fish and wild habitats and recreational opportunities. In addition to providing multiple forest health and restoration priorities the BLM provides the public with commercial and personal use opportunities to harvest products including: fire wood, Christmas trees, posts and poles, house logs, boughs, berries, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers, moss, mushrooms, cones and plant seed.
Insects and diseases in Idaho forests are a natural part of the ecosystem. These include root diseases, bark beetles and dwarf mistletoes. Dwarf Mistletoe species may infect Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, western larch and hemlock trees causing noticeable deformities on branches called witches’ brooms and/or swollen areas on trunks. The Mountain pine beetle may attack lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, whitebark pine and limber pine trees. Tree mortality may occur when the pine beetle population grows so large the number of individual beetle attacks overwhelms tree defenses.
In Idaho, BLM forest ecologists are contributing to the conservation of Whitebark pine; a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act. BLM is managing whitebark pine as a special status species. While whitebark pine is found on BLM lands in several western states, the populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are considered to be the largest across BLM managed lands. Whitebark pine occurs in high elevation sites characterized by rocky soils, cold temperatures and snowy, windswept exposures. Mature trees in Idaho over 400 years old are common. One tree has been documented before 1492. Whitebark pine seeds are relatively large, high in protein and fat and are an important source of food for squirrels, birds, black bear and grizzly bear. The major threats identified include: white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle, changing fire regimes and changing climate.