As the smaller of two forest preserves in New York, the Catskills doesn’t often get all the attention it deserves. A few years ago,however, we got lucky. A research arm of the US Forest Service targeted the Catskills to do a few fly-overs using NASA technology (think planes with lasers) to help map forest health. The results you may intuitively know if you’ve spent any time in the woods, but the data is worth a second look. The above picture is a somber portrayal of the dwindling health of our woods. Measuring known indicators of forest resiliency and vigor (such as nutrient levels in the leaves, amount of chlorophyll production, defoliation, etc) the scientists color coded the forest according to levels of stress. Deer browse, invasive insects, and acid rain are among the culprits responsible for the bad news. How can you help? Take action against invasive species (read up on the NYSDEC or Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership webpage), encourage more deer hunting, and plant a native tree!