The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) provides sound forestry recommendations and implementation assistance to private landowners, communities and cooperating agencies in order to improve forest amenities such as tree health, wildlife habitat, soil and water conservation, forest products and recreational opportunities. We offer a variety of forest management services, including the CSFS Nursery seedling tree program.

The CSFS is also a sponsor of the Forest Stewardship Program, a national effort at forest planning and recognition for forest landowners.

Forest Management Assistance

Forest Management and Timber Harvest Plans

Good management begins with a sound management plan designed to meet a landowner’s needs. A management plan will identify the landowner’s objectives for their property, describe the resources present and recommend specific practices needed to attain these objectives.

The plan involves an in-depth inventory of the timber as well as the other resources on the property, such as range and/or wildlife. When writing a management plan, we often consult with other natural resource professionals from, for example, the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Colorado Parks & Wildlife, for their expertise so that the plan is as interdisciplinary as possible.

The CSFS is the primary review agency for county planning departments that require logging plans as part of a land use application.

Timber Cruising & Mapping

Timber cruising is the process of determining the amount (in cubic feet, board feet or weight) of timber on a given unit (usually acres) of land. Accepted statistical sampling procedures must be used and the accuracy of the “cruise” must be calculated in order to be valid. A qualified professional forester with no financial interest in the sale of your timber should conduct your timber cruise. Sometimes, a landowner may be interested in simply cruising or mapping a particular property or timber stand to determine possible sale potential or value.

The CSFS Grand Junction Field Office developed a spreadsheet and stand-alone DOS executable programs for volume determination of all commercial timber species in Colorado. In addition, we incorporate the latest GPS  and GIS capabilities into our mapping of your forested property.

Insect & Disease Surveys

The CSFS is available to assess your forested lands for insect and disease occurrence and to make recommendations for control where needed. This service is provided as part of any management plan,and is also available to individual lot owners or homeowner associations concerned with specific pests (e.g., Ips engraver beetle, mountain pine beetle or spruce budworm). A diagnostic lab is available through Colorado State University that can further study samples.

Timber Sale Preparation & Administration

A wise seller will know the amount and value of any commodity for sale; this is especially true when selling timber. We offer commercial timber sale layout, marking, cruising (volume determination) and traversing for acreage calculation. We can also prepare timber sale contracts, and have an extensive bidder’s list to assist in offering a sale whether it’s a few cords of firewood or several million board feet of sawlogs.

The CSFS emphasizes on-the-ground implementation of sound forest management principles. Most of the above services require a user fee, which is covered through a standard CSFS service agreement that outlines what we can do for you and associated costs.

Forest Agricultural Property Tax

In 1990, the Colorado legislature enacted House Bill 1229, which allowed certain forested properties to qualify for agricultural property tax status. A landowner, owning at least 40 acres of forested land and willing to manage the property to produce wood products, is now eligible to receive agricultural tax status without necessarily grazing or farming the land (CRS 39-1-102 (69 KB PDF)). CSFS is responsible for annually reviewing these properties and making recommendations to county tax assessors regarding “Forest Ag” eligibility.

Landowner Assistance Programs

For landowner assistance programs, visit our Programs for Homeowner & Landowners page.

Wood Utilization

The following CSFS web pages provide information:

Seedling Tree Program

Availability of Nursery-Grown Seedling Trees

2020 Conservation Seedling orders can be placed with the Gunnison Conservation District at (713) 586-9277 or The anticipated delivery date is the week of May 25, 2020.

Seedling Tree Care Program

The goal of our tree care program is to provide you with tips to help your trees survive. We offer a single source catalog for seedling survival supplies at reasonable prices because we buy in bulk and pass along the savings. Materials available through our office include drip irrigation kits, polymer soil additive/root dip, tree guards, tree shades, animal repellent and weed barrier fabric. Throughout the winter, we offer seedling tree care workshops to demonstrate the use of these various products and show you how to plan, plant and care for your trees (1.84 MB PDF) for maximum survival and growth.

For those who wish to install a drip irrigation system, installation instructions (53 KB PDF) are available.

Tree Farm Program

The CSFS is a co-sponsor of the American Tree Farm System, a national program that encourages private forest owners to effectively grow trees as a crop by sharing information and through recognition. Certified Tree Farmers receive a Tree Farm certificate, sign, regular mailings of the American Tree Farmer magazine (from the American Forest Foundation) and tree farm newsletters from their own state tree farm committee.

More information about the CSFS’ Forest Management program.