Fires, Beetles and Droughts, oh my! & Investigating tree die off in Vermont



    Healthy forests are vital to our future, and consistent, long-term monitoring of forest health indicators is necessary to identify forest resources deteriorating across large regions. The Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program of the USDA Forest Service, with cooperating researchers within and outside the Forest Service, quantifies status, changes and trends in the health of U.S. forests. This presentation will offer a broad-scale snapshot of recent threats to U.S. forests, including insects and diseases, wildfire, and drought. The results are from the most recent annual FHM national report, which is produced by forest health monitoring researchers at the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) of the USDA Forest Service in collaboration with North Carolina State University cooperators.


    Examine the facts and learn about the revelations gleaned from this Vermont mystery case concerning a spike in dead trees from our 2008 statewide forest inventory. Determining causes for declines after the fact requires some keen sleuthing skills, looking at forest pests, weather events, acid deposition effects, and climatic changes as initiating or intensifying this decline. Some general characteristics of the mortality to peak your interest: declines were found in both northern and southern Vermont; high elevation forests as well as timberland forests were affected; and mortality was not related to tree stocking levels. Several species seemed to be affected including: red spruce, white birch, balsam fir, red maple, and American beech. Local concern about white ash decline led to its inclusion in this investigation.