Dead trees in California reach new records

Dead trees in California reach new records

25 December 2017

Published by

USA – Just as Supervisors extended the local emergency proclamation of tree mortality, state officials announced there are 129 million dead trees in California because of drought and bark beetles.

The dead trees are a hazard to residents and infrastructure, mainly in the central and southern Sierra Nevada.

There are 25.2 million dead and dying trees in Tulare County, the location with the most.

“The number of dead and dying trees has continued to rise, along with risks to communities and firefighters if a wildfire breaks out in these areas,” said Randy Moore, regional forester of the U.S. Forest Service. “It is apparent from our survey flights this year that California’s trees have not yet recovered from the drought, and remain vulnerable to beetle attacks and increased wildfire threat.”

In extending the tree mortality proclamation, Supervisors hope to get more money to help solve the problem of dead and dying trees especially in higher elevations.

“More than ever we need to continue to push forward on this monumental problem in our county,” said Supervisors Steve Worthley. “This action confirms our tree mortality problem still exists and the need to continue our work with the U.S. Forest Service to address tree mortality.”

Worthley is part of the California Tree Mortality Task Force. There are 80 local, state and federal agencies and private utility companies.

Moore said there is a plan to deal with what may endanger trees.

“The forest service will continue to focus on mitigating hazard trees and thinning overly dense forests so they are healthier and better able to survive stressors like this in the future,” he said.

Just like the state agency, Tulare County is taking on the dead and dying trees. By the start of December, 10,000 dead trees, posing a threat to public safety along local roads, have been removed.

The tree removal is a necessity.

“Tulare County is the heart of the tree mortality crisis in California,” Supervisor Kuyler Crocker said. “Our county has more dead trees than anywhere in the state and our forests are a major part of our county.”

The task force has also done its share. The task force has felled or removed more than 860,000 dead trees, including 480,000 trees the Forest Service had dealt with.

County officials said the removal takes a triage approach, first focusing on public safety by removing dead and dying trees in high hazard areas.

Moore said the tree removal is just one step in dealing with the dead and dying trees.

“To increase the pace and scale of this important work, we need to fix how fire suppression is funded,” he said. “Last year, fire management consumed 56 percent of the Forest Service’s national budget. As fire suppression costs continue to grow as a percentage of the Forest Service’s budget, funding is shrinking for non-fire programs that protect watersheds and restore, making them more resilient to wildfire and drought.”

Dealing with three mortality at this level takes a combined effort, said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire Director and California’s state forester.

“California’s forests are a critical part of the state’s strategy to address climate change,” he said. “By working together and using all the resources or our disposal we will be able to make more progress towards our common goal of healthier, more resilient forests that benefit all Californians.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien