Celebrating Forest Health: A Cooperative Forestry Program

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

By Whitney Forman-Cook

Right now, more than 80 million acres of forests in United States are at risk of damage from insects and disease. Without remediation, about 25% of our nation's trees will die by 2027 due to these threats.

Because forest pests and disease know no boundaries, forest health initiatives must take an all-lands approach to be successful. The Forest Health Management Program on Cooperative Lands does just that.  

With support from the Forest Health Management Program on Cooperative Lands, state forestry agencies prevent, detect, and control diseases and invasive species that are harmful to forests. This work helps boost and maintain forest health and resilience on state and private lands, and in turn, curb tree mortality and minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfire on all forests.

Forest Health program success stories

In California, drought and invasive forest pests have led to millions of tree deaths. The state has utilized Forest Health funding to: hold forest health trainings for more than 2,000 government and industry employees and private citizens; complete forest health surveys on nearly 2 million acres of forest land; and implement early detection and rapid response plans for invasive species.

In New Mexico, catastrophic fire, infestations, and pathogen outbreaks are a real threat to forests and surrounding communities.Through the Forest Health program's cost share program, landowners participating in the Western Bark Beetle Initiative were reimbursed for forest thinning treatments.

In Kansas, the state forestry agency utilizes Forest Health funds to monitor for tree pests like the thousand cankers disease, pine wilt, and the emerald ash borer. Since 2014, more than 150 traps have been deployed across eastern Kansas to detect for the presence of emerald ash borer, which threatens more than 56 million ash trees in the state.

Have questions? Contact Communications Director Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org.