Forestry Friday … Diagnosing Forest Health From the Air

bark beetle, Ips

A bark beetle infested Ponderosa Pine.

This story appeared in the LA Times, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-dying-forests-20151020-story.html. Biologist Greg Asner uses spectrometer and laser technology to assess the health of California’s forest from the air. He creates 3D imagery that displays the level of stress within the trees. Our forests are under tremendous stress from having too many trees per acre and not enough resources to go around. The drought is the straw to break the camel’s back. It really demonstrates the need for active forest management to help keep our forests healthy.

10 thoughts on “Forestry Friday … Diagnosing Forest Health From the Air

    • The dirty little secret is that they don’t have to spend a dime to get this done. By selling the timber created while doing timber stand improvement, these kinds of projects used to make money for the federal treasury. Now, every project that involves cutting any trees is appealed and litigated. The legal costs make the timber sales lose money. It hurts our forests, our economy and the communities. Thinning the forests in California would even contribute to solving our drought, because fewer trees per acre directly increases runoff. Very sad really, because it is based on politics and not good science.

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    • Very true Kirt. It’s a vicious cycle we’re in. Thinning these forests would lessen the impact of the drought, because it would increase runoff. The remaining trees would be under less stress, since there would be less competition. It would also reduce the intensity of the wildfires by removing the extra fuel in the woods. The timber generated would help the lumber sector of our economy and the federal government would make money on the sale of the timber. We would have healthy forests all the way around. I call that a win-win.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really a paradox for the forestry profession in California. Our science and technology for managing our forests has never been better, but our politics and policies don’t seem to pay much attention to science and technology.

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