November 24, 2016

Huge tree deaths due to drought in California

US Forest Service - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced  that the U.S. Forest Service has identified an additional 36 million dead trees across California since its last aerial survey in May 2016. This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million on 7.7 million acres of California’s drought stricken forests. In 2016 alone, 62 million trees have died, representing more than a 100 percent increase in dead trees across the state from 2015. Millions of additional trees are weakened and expected to die in the coming months and years.

With public safety as its most pressing concern, the U.S. Forest Service has committed significant resources to help impacted forests, including reprioritizing $43 million in California in fiscal year 2016 to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites. However, limited resources and a changing climate hamper the Forest Service's ability to address tree mortality in California. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service officials are seriously hampered not only by short-term budgets passed by Congress, but also a broken budget for the Forest Service that sees an increasing amount of resources going to firefighting while less is invested in restoration and forest health, said Vilsack.

"These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur, and pose a host of threats to life and property across California,” said Vilsack.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trees have been dying in California long before this most recent drought. Though certainly a compounding factor, something else has been seriously affecting the forest health over the past three decades. It's not discussed very much, however there does seem to be a curious overlap with the onset of obviously deterioration of arboreal health, and, the wide-spread introduction of certain herbicides employed as pre-harvest descants. These same herbicides are also an integral component of the technology involved with the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Glyphosate is a chemical that readily translocates through plant tissue, and once taken up in foliage eventually passes through the entire plant system to the roots and eventually into the surrounding soil.
Contaminated dust, or even outright herbicide drift due to inappropriate application during high winds can impact flora miles away.