Monday, November 28, 2011

Task force to study dying trees in Eastern Washington

Over the next 15 years, state projections indicate that elevated tree mortality could occur across 2.8 million acres of Eastern Washington, or roughly one-third of the landscape. 

Washington State is convening a committee of foresters, scientists and other experts in an effort to contain this pending forest health epidemic east of the Cascades. The task force was convened under the state’s forest health law, which allows the Department of Natural Resources to ask other landowners to take voluntary actions to reduce the spread of insects and disease and to provide technical assistance from the state.

"The combination of the projections and the actual mortality we're seeing causes us alarm," said Aaron Everett, Washington's State Forester. "It's certainly compounded by what we anticipate will be a warmer climate."

Spruce budworm damage mostly affects the emerging new growth on infested trees.
In August 2011, WA DNR and the USDA Forest Service announced they were monitoring the Western spruce budworm to see how many acres of Washington's forests have been defoliated by the insect. Drivers crossing Blewett Pass in summer can see expanses of evergreens damaged or killed by the budworm.

DNR’s Forest Health Program and Washington State University’s Forestry Extension program conduct workshops across the state to educate citizens about western spruce budworm and other forest health conditions. (More on 2011 workshops.)

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