Saturday, January 28, 2017

Southern Sierra Nevada Tree Mortality

Tree mortality in California was staggering last year, and continues:
“As ecologists, we’re struggling,” Meyer says. What restoration steps to recommend when future conditions are so uncertain? What kind of forest to aim for when the past is no longer a valid guide?

For much of the blighted zone, the question may be purely academic. The Forest Service is felling hundreds of thousands of dead trees next to roads and around developed areas for public safety reasons. So far the agency says it has treated 18,000 acres and is working on another 50,000 acres.

But there is a limited market for the salvage wood and a limited Forest Service budget for tree removal.

“There are massive areas in the landscape that you will just never get to because the economics don’t work out and the mill capacity isn’t there and the wood doesn’t have much value,” North says. “Most of those trees are just going to be there and fall over.”

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