Climate Change

State and Private Forestry Report Highlights Accomplishments and Emerging Trends in Forestry

Analysis of Forest Action Plan Five-Year Reviews Illustrates Impacts of Strong Partnerships and Effective Strategic Planning

WASHINGTON (September 7, 2016)—The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) has released the 2016 State and Private Forestry Report which includes success stories and an overview of emerging issues and trends that were recently identified by the state forestry agencies.

Wildfires Heat Up Across the West

Homes evacuated. Buildings destroyed. Thousands of acres scorched. The peak of the fire season is yet to come, and it’s only being made worse by climate change.

The wildfires blazing in California, Alaska and across the Southwest are threatening communities and natural resources. In Alaska, the first wildfire this season started in late February, yet the season typically begins in April or May. 

The Great Potential of Building With Wood

In North America, where the building sector accounts for about 37% of carbon dioxide emissions, building with wood represents an opportunity to mitigate climate change. Ultra-strong wood products, like cross-laminated timber, could be a boon to green building and forest markets. A recent study by a researchers from Yale and the University of Washington estimated that global carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 14%-31% if wood were used in the place of steel and concrete in construction.

California Street Trees Provide $1 Billion in Annual Value

A new report from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station estimates trees lining California’s streets provide benefits to urban communities worth $1 billion annually. Using i-Tree, an urban forest inventory and management software suite, researchers arrived at a complete understanding of California’s tree species, size, location, and associated benefits.

Tree Mortality Poses Wildfire Threat in Pacific Northwest

The impacts of the last three years of drought are finally manifesting themselves throughout the Pacific Northwest. Douglas firs have been affected the most, dying off and peppering the landscape with burnt-orange needles. The die-offs come despite a rather wet winter, as recent drought and associated beetle infestations stressed the trees. In certain areas, cold, dry east winds from last winter froze the foliage of many coniferous trees, leaving trees green on one side and orange on the other.

Climate Change Exacerbates Wildfire Challenges

In 2015 the United States witnessed one of the worst fire seasons on record. Over 10 million acres burned as the result of unprecedented high temperatures and record low snowpack and rainfall in the American West.

Climate Change Could Put Eucalypts at Fatal Risk

Climate change is set to bring rising temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and more droughts. Since trees cannot migrate to get away from heat and lack of water, they rely on such strategies as dropping leaves and reducing evaporation of water from leaves to cope.

"This places eucalypts — and possibly other tree species — at risk from anticipated rapid changes in climate," said the researchers, led by Dr Sebastian Pfautsch from Western Sydney University's Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment