In California, the U.S. Forest Service has identified an additional 36 million dead trees across California since its last aerial survey in May 2016. This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million on 7.7 million acres of California’s drought stricken forests. In 2016 alone, 62 million trees have died, representing more than a 100 percent increase across the state from 2015. Millions more trees are weakened and expected to die in the coming months and years.
The majority of the dead trees are in ten counties in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region. Five years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to these historic levels of tree die-off.
The U.S. Forest Service has reprioritized $43 million in California in fiscal year 2016 to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites.