Thousands of acres being cleared at Cibola National Forest
August 13, 2019 05:21 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There's a big project underway at Cibola National Forest. Thousands of acres being cleared out in order to make the forest safer in more ways than one.
"This machine can actually go out and clear a half acre at a time," said Aaron Johnson, a forester with the U.S. Forest Service. "The objective of this project is to remove, or mitigate, hazard trees along trails, roads, forest service infrastructure and to protect people from those falling trees."
This huge project began because of a very small creature: a moth.
"The tussock moth – which defoliates White Fir and Douglas Fir trees on this mountain," Johnson said.
The caterpillar population boom knocked out a lot of the trees, and now the U.S. Forest Service is knocking those trees down.
The thousands of trees they're removing will have other benefits, like protecting against forest fires and making the mountain healthier.
"We're actually allowing more light to penetrate the ground, which increases biodiversity," Johnson said.
He said it will cost millions to complete the tree clearing, and the work will continue over the next several years as they slowly secure funding.
Updated: August 13, 2019 05:21 PM
Created: August 13, 2019 04:40 PM
Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved