USDA Forest Service

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.

Senate ENR Holds Hearing on Wildfire Funding

By Greg Pilchak

On June 23rd, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to receive testimony on the recent discussion draft entitled “Wildfire Budgeting, Response and Forest Management Act of 2016.” The hearing on the bill focused on three main issues: 1) the need to end “fire borrowing”; 2) the growing portion of the USDA Forest Service’s (USFS) budget consumed by wildfire suppression funds; and 3) the need for forestry reforms to encourage more active management.

Record 66 Million Trees Dead in Southern Sierra Nevada

The U.S. Forest Service announced that it has identified an additional 26 million trees dead in California since October 2015. These trees are located in six counties across 760,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada region of the state, and are in addition to the 40 million trees that died statewide from 2010 to October 2015, bringing the total to at least 66 million dead trees. Four consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to historic levels of tree die-off.

Alaska State Forester Testifies at Senate Field Hearing

By Greg Pilchak

On May 31st, Alaska State Forester Chris Maisch testified at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Field Hearing in Kenai, Alaska. Maisch detailed the impacts of the 2015 fire season and offered recommendations for minimizing the negative impacts of wildfire on public safety and recreation, while at the same time recognizing the role that wildland fire plays in forest ecosystems.

Senators Release Draft Bipartisan Legislation on Fire Funding

By Greg Pilchak

On Wednesday, May 25th, leaders on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee released draft legislation whose goal is to improve wildfire budgeting and forest management. The bipartisan legislation is the culmination of recent Committee efforts to examine and find solutions to problems such as “fire borrowing,” the speed of environmental reviews, and fire suppression strategies.