Under section 8204 of the Farm Bill, states are given the opportunity to request desgination of landscape-scale insect & disease infestation areas on National Forest System lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. To date, 36 states have submitted requests to the Forest Service for such designations under the Farm Bill authority. NASF is encouraged by the strong state response to this opportunity.
The mountain pine beetle has spread rapidly: first observed in 1996, it has killed millions of trees from New Mexico to the Yukon Territory. In a 2011 report, “Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic,” the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) warned, “The imminent danger of falling trees pose[s] significant health and safety threats.
Permafrost is permanently frozen ground – but shifts in climate is causing much of that ground to melt at an unprecedented rate, resulting “slumping land” which cracks pavement, breaks pipelines, opens holes, and changes the way that trees grow. 7 to 8 percent of the land in the middle boreal zone in Alaska is showing signs of “drunken trees,” trees that are leaning instead of growing upright, as a result of erosion and rising water table.
The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station recently led a study to forecast forest conditions over the next 50 years in the 20-state region extending from Maine to Minnesota and from Missouri to Maryland. They found five short and long-term factors that will be “highly influential regardless of the nature and magnitude of the effects of climate change," said lead author Stephen Shifley, a research forester with the Northern Research Station.
“Climate change information is often presented at scales that are hard to digest,” said Stephen Handler, the lead author for the Michigan Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis, “This report is designed to give forest managers in Michigan the best possible science of effects of climate change for our particular forest ecosystems, so they can make climate-informed decisions about management today.”
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the USDA Forest Service – State and Private Forestry (USFS) partnered to create the Appalachian Forest Renewal Initiative, which will allocate $678,000 to State Foresters or their designated partners to restore forests on degraded mined land areas. Sites will span Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. These six grants will provide a 1:1 match in additional funds and in
Major thinning in northern Arizona’s national forests represents the early stages of the “biggest-ever U.S.. forest restoration project.” About 1,300 acres of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will be thinned as part of the second Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) in the area. The initiative, which plans to thin four Southwestern forests, is designed to lessen the danger of wildfire and restore forest health through thinning and fuel removal.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plans to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Asian long-horned beetle in the area with another season of beetle hunting. With a heavy focus on surveys in the towns of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury, Holden and Auburn, the program will also continue to work with entomologists and foresters to further develop pheromone traps.
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