Governor’s Action on Tree Mortality
Severe drought conditions have led to tree mortality in our forests on an unprecedented scale ‑‑ increasing wildfire and safety risks from hazardous trees; increasing threats of erosion; damaging wildlife habitat; and, releasing tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
In response, on October 30, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued an Emergency Declaration to protect communities from California’s unprecedented tree die-off. In his declaration, he cited an estimated 22 million trees that have already died due to drought and bark beetle infestation, and called for action to address the safe removal of dying trees, especially in high hazard zones in California’s forested communities.
Since then, new aerial surveys show more than 66 million have died since 2010 from drought and bark beetle.
The Governor has taken a bold move in trying to comprehensively address the issue of dying trees on a regional and statewide scale. This has created opportunities to deal with biomass energy and forest health issues that were not previously available. We look forward to serving on the Governor’s Task Force on Tree Mortality and being a key partner in the solution.
Drought, disease, wildfire and insect infestation have led to an unprecedented tree die-off in forested communities. Most often, these rural communities rely on the many benefits of forests for their local economies. These rural economies are struggling to provide water, jobs, tourism and even safety from wildfire, and have taken action to declare their own emergencies. Fresno, Mariposa, Madera and Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Tulare.
- Tree Mortality Update by Tom Berryhill
- CAL FIRE Awards Fire Prevention Grants in High Tree Mortality Areas Including Madera, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties
- Tuolumne County Supervisors to Vote on Tree Mortality Plan
- Tapping Disaster Funds for Tree Mortality Troubles
- Massive Tree Die-Off Triggers Placer County Emergency
- Tuolumne Utilities District Staff Advises Board of Directors to Declare a Tree Mortality State of Emergency
- Tree Deaths Rise Steeply in the Sierra; Drought and insects to Blame
Aerial Survey Maps
In May 2016, the U.S. Forest Service conducted aerial surveys of the tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada. The following maps, published by CAL FIRE June 23, 2016, show that in the last year the number of drought-killed trees has more than doubled to 66 million.
- Amador-Eldorado Unit
- Fresno-Kings Unit
- Kern County
- Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit
- Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit
- Tulare Unit
- Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit
Woody biomass from forestry operations is used as a form of fuel for renewable energy. Biomass power plants burn wood byproducts in a controlled boiler to produce steam, which drives a turbine to make electricity for homes and businesses. This process reduces air emissions by 98 percent when compared to burning in the open. The biomass power industry burns more than 25 million tons of wood waste into clean, renewable power every year and is a much needed solution to the State’s emergency on tree mortality. For more detailed information, please visit our partners at the California Biomass Energy Alliance for more information.