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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Forecasts of tree mortality in California and the Pacific Northwest

Photo of Map showing projected risk level for each mile-square for 2017 based on site characteristics and history of precipitation and tree mortality up to September 2016. The accompanying boxplots show the range and distribution of expected values for each of the ten risk levels based on data from 2005-2016. Map showing projected risk level for each mile-square for 2017 based on site characteristics and history of precipitation and tree mortality up to September 2016. The accompanying boxplots show the range and distribution of expected values for each of the ten risk levels based on data from 2005-2016. Snapshot : Tree mortality forecasts aid forest managers in California and the Pacific Northwest.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Preisler, Haiganoush K. 
Research Location : Data collected all over California and Pacific Northwest. Research done at PSW and WWETAC
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1378

Summary

The level of tree mortality and drought observed over the past decade in North America has been described as 'unparalleled' in our modern history, especially in the Sierra Nevada, California. Forest managers could benefit from early warning of where and how much tree mortality to expect in the very near future to plan and prioritize hazard tree removal, pest suppression activities, infer location of funding needs and fuels reduction treatments, as well as access for firefighting. To address these needs, Forest Service scientistsdeveloped an empirically based forecast model for expected tree mortality for an upcoming year based on site characteristics, precipitation, and the previous years' observed tree mortality. Using this approach, initial forecasts for the next growing season can be developed by late fall for the following late summer or two summers ahead, which is a time frame that allows managers to act on the forecasts. Forecasts for California and the Pacific Northwest have already been developed and are presented at the following site: http://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=7b78c5c7a67748808ce298efefceaa46; https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=b283811bb73a4e1cbd24916545d3301e.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • WWETAC, Forest Health