Trees for Conservation
Few conservation efforts provide the extensive and enduring benefits of planting seedling trees. They help reforest burned areas, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce soil erosion, protect water supplies and serve as living snow fences that provide protection from wind and snow. Growing low-cost seedlings for Colorado landowners is vital to meeting the state’s conservation goals.
Working with Landowners
The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) Nursery, located on the Foothills Campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is the state’s leader in producing low-cost, Colorado-grown seedling trees and shrubs for conservation purposes. The CSFS Nursery produces more than 40 species, all selected for their hardiness and adaptability, which are ideal for landowners and land managers to use for conservation in Colorado’s diverse environments.
Situated on 130 acres managed for field production of bare-root seedlings, the nursery also uses 18,000 square feet of greenhouse space for container plant production. Nursery staff continuously conduct trials to identify new species that will address landowner needs.
The seedling program allows farmers, ranchers, other landowners and land managers to obtain trees at a nominal cost to help achieve conservation goals, including:
- Restoration after wildfire, flood and other natural disturbances
- Growing shelterbelts, windbreaks and living snow fences
- Creating and enhancing wildlife habitat
- Protecting homes, cropland, livestock and highways
- Increasing erosion control
- Practicing “backyard” conservation that promotes clean air and water
Conservation and sustainability are the nursery’s primary goals, with a commitment to community, stewardship and cooperation. The nursery supports education about conservation practices – particularly to Colorado youth – through tours, field trips, workshops and community engagement.
The CSFS Nursery works with Colorado State University and other partners on research that examines the state’s most pressing natural resource issues. Nursery staff share findings from plant trials, seed stratification tests and similar research to contribute knowledge to cooperating agencies.
In addition to growing seedlings for landowner projects, the CSFS Nursery accommodates unique needs with optimized space and project planning. This includes specialized growing for:
- Riparian restoration projects
- Habitat improvement
- Site-specific requirements or sites that are challenging for reforestation
The nursery is also equipped to store seed, plant material and harvested collections.