Archive for the ‘Forest Health’ Category

Funding opportunity for restoring forest landscapes; deadline February 29

January 19, 2016
Keep urban forests in your community healthy

Keep urban forests in your community healthy. Photo: Guy Kramer

DNR is looking for projects that will help protect and restore forests across the diverse landscapes of Washington.

Working together with the U.S. Forest Service, DNR is seeking forestland restoration grant proposals for a program called Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant Process (LSR). Forestland restoration projects can include rural, wildland, and urban areas.

LSR projects cross boundaries to affect any combination of federal, state, tribal, county, municipal, or private lands. For example, a riparian habitat restoration project might affect the entire length of a waterway that passes through lands which are owned and managed by different agencies, organizations, or individuals.

Eastern Washington forest

An overstocked forest in eastern Washington. Photo: DNR

Because of the funding competition, DNR wants to submit the best and most important projects that benefit the bigger goal of healthy forests.

We ask that potential partners submit letters of interest to DNR and collaborate with us to develop Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant proposals that meet the national priorities.

Here is the Request for Proposal for LSR projects.

Letters of interest are due by February 29 at 4:30 p.m. (PST) and need to be submitted to:

Jonathan Guzzo
WA State Dept. of Natural Resources
1111 Washington Street SE
MS 47037
Olympia, WA  98504-7037

Funding for these projects comes from the U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry branch to address forest conservation, protection, and enhancement needs in priority areas identified within Washington’s Forest Action Plan.

The benefits of our forests are vast. Not only are they home to countless wildlife species, they keep our drinking water clean, control flooding, purify our air, and enhance community livability.

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Are you a forest landowner with trees damaged by recent winter storms?

January 4, 2016
A severe wind storm knocked down these Ponderosa pines, which are now susceptible to pine engraver beetle. Photo: State of Idaho

A severe wind storm knocked down these ponderosa pines, which are now susceptible to pine engraver beetle. Photo: State of Idaho

Severe November and December wind and snow storms in Spokane and other areas could be causing more damage than you realize. By this spring, you may notice little piles of reddish bark dust around your trees. This is a sign that bark beetles are attacking the trunks and branches of your damaged trees.

When the weather warms up, bark beetles become active, infesting and feeding on the sugary inner bark of your uprooted or broken trees. Over just a few weeks, inside the damaged logs, these beetles can build up populations, which then attack and kill neighboring healthy trees.

The chief culprits are known as the pine engraver beetle and the Douglas-fir beetle.

Prime targets

Ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine trunks and branches that are larger than three inches in diameter can be infested by the pine engraver beetle. Pine engraver beetles that infest wind-thrown trees in April and May will lay eggs that develop into adults and emerge in June of the same year. Although beetles that emerge in June often continue to infest damaged trees, the next generation of beetles that emerges in August may attack adjacent healthy trees.

The Douglas-fir beetle infests Douglas-fir trunks that are larger than about 10 inches in diameter. These beetles’ offspring require a year to mature and could infest healthy Douglas-fir trees in spring of 2017.

Both types of bark beetle are highly attracted to the thick, moist, nutritious inner-bark tissue of trees that are recently wind-thrown or have broken tops, as well as logs.

How to minimize your chance for infestations

The best option to reduce beetle infestations is to interrupt the amount of moist inner bark tissue that is available for beetles to breed. Remove damaged trees by salvaging the larger timber and safely burning or chipping smaller material. Try to increase the rate at which the inner bark dries out by cutting green logs into smaller pieces, removing branches, dispersing the woody material in a sunny area.

Leaving damaged trees or logs in the shade or in small sheltered piles lengthens the time the inner bark is suitable beetle food and habitat; it also increases the chances that the wood will become infested.

DO NOT stack green firewood next to healthy standing trees. The idea is to reduce the number of places the damaging beetles have easy access to breed this spring, so high populations won’t develop and threaten remaining trees later.

If you own forestland and need advice about tree care, contact a DNR Region Office near you or the WSU Extension Office in your county.

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English ivy invades Pacific Northwest forests

December 28, 2015
English ivy infestation in Olympic National Park

English ivy, like this infestation in Olympic National Park, can kill and pull down trees. Photo: Kevin Zobrist/WSU Extension.

What’s wrong with a little ivy? Plenty. The photo with this post was taken recently in Olympic National Park, demonstrating that invasive species know no boundaries. This was only a small piece of the infestation, which was killing and pulling over trees and completely destroying the native plants growing under the trees. This immense spread of ivy has very little value for wildlife, unless you’re a rat.

Native to Europe, English ivy and similar cultivars were introduced to North America by early settlers who prized it for ornamental purposes. It continues to be widely planted as an ornamental, according to the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. Because of its shallow, mat-like root system, ivy is a poor choice for controlling erosion, such as on hillsides.

“But I only have a little,” you say? That’s how this started out. English ivy spreads aggressively both vegetatively and by bird-disbursed seeds. There are a number of different varieties, all invasive and all brought in as ornamentals.

Getting rid of ivy

Spraying is challenging because ivy has a thick, waxy leaf, but there are some herbicides listed for use (always follow label instructions). Fortunately, English ivy pulls up (roots and all) pretty easily, so with a little elbow grease you can make good strides in eradicating it. You should wear gloves and a dust mask for this, for the sake of comfort. For ivy that is growing up and strangling trees, you don’t have to pull it all off the tree (which could damage the bark). Instead, pull the ivy off the tree up to shoulder height, making sure to sever all stems growing up the tree. Without ground contact, the remainder up the tree will die. Then work on pulling the stuff on the ground back from the tree, pulling it up by the roots. Here are two Pacific Northwest-oriented fact sheets about controlling English ivy:

Check out King County’s list of native plant alternatives to English ivy.

[This blog post was excerpted from an article in Forest Stewardship Notes by Kevin Zobrist, regional extension forestry specialist, WSU Extension Service. Forest Stewardship Notes is a free quarterly e-newsletter published jointly by DNR and WSU Extension Service. Sign up for a free subscription today.]

Timely tree tips — drought damage dynamics

August 12, 2015
Drought tree

Trees in Washington state are showing the damage caused by dry conditions. Photo: DNR.

When the rainforest in Olympic National Park catches fire, you know that Washington is dry. However, increased fire risk is not the only summertime threat to trees and forests. Drought conditions can cause cell and tissue dieback in trees and can also give pests and diseases a leg up in the battle for forest health.

According to DNR’s recently published Forest Health Highlights in Washington–2014:

“Trees experiencing drought stress can become more susceptible to insect and disease attacks and are less likely to recover from damage. In eastern Washington, trees growing in dense or overstocked stands have a higher likelihood of experiencing drought stress.”

Trees in urban landscapes that may be disproportionately affected by drought are those that are newly planted, victims of root damage, or growing in tough planting sites that are heavily compacted, poorly irrigated, or space limited.

In some cases, such as with water-dependent diseases like Sudden Oak Death, drought can hinder the growth and spread of disease organisms. However, many pests and diseases are more resilient in drought conditions than their host tree species.

For example, bark beetles thrive on drought stressed trees. In recent years, pine bark beetle populations have been exploding throughout the western U.S. as a result of drought and other complicating factors. Many types of tree diseases may also worsen in drought conditions including root rots, cankers, and wilts such as Dutch elm disease.

Check out this recent story from King5 News about the effects of drought on Seattle’s elm tree population.

For more information on this topic, consider reviewing the following resources:

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Small forest landowners: Learn how the FFFPP can help you

April 3, 2015

Are you a small forest landowner? Do the roads on your land block or damage fish habitat?

The Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) is a DNR program targeted specifically to small forest landowners. The program helps landowners eliminate structures (improperly installed road culverts, for example) that prevent fish from moving freely through the stream or reaching spawning grounds. FFFPP was introduced in 2003, and has since helped more than 200 small forest landowners correct 343 barriers, reconnecting over 760 miles of stream fish habitat.

Any small forest landowner is eligible to enroll in the program and apply to have their land evaluated. Once landowners are accepted into the program, they are relieved of the responsibility to fix the barrier and will remain on the list until the state is able to fund and complete the repairs.

This video shows landowners who have used the program, explains the benefits of participating in FFFPP and how to apply.

For more information, contact Laurie Cox via email ( or phone (360-902-1404).

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Beetle invasions put forests at risk of wildfire

March 16, 2015

A healthy forest is a top priority in preventing wildfire, and insects are one of the things that can threaten the health of a tree. Bark beetles, such as the mountain pine beetle, feed on the inner bark of many types of pine trees, which can cause the trees to die. Although the beetles normally play an important role by attacking older or weakened trees to allow more room for younger trees to grow, the combination of warmer winters, densely packed forest stands and poor forest health conditions, such as seen across eastern Washington, puts entire forests at greater risk of destructive wildfire.

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Learn about the health of Washington’s forests near you

March 14, 2015
Forest Health Highlights is a report on insect and disease activity in Washington's forests.

Forest Health Highlights is a report on insect and disease activity in Washington’s forests.

Each year, all forested acres in Washington are surveyed from the air to track recent tree damage. That’s 22.4 million acres of forestland, which you can see in this three-minute video taken from 2011.

These aerial surveys are used to report the location and intensity of damage by forest insects, diseases, and other disturbances. See the results for yourself in our latest Forest Health Highlights report.

If you own forestland, use this report to understand which insects or diseases are active near your property and find out how to get maps and data covering your area.

Even if you don’t own forestland, the report helps you understand the quality and condition of forests near you. It’s so valuable in fact, that DNR and the U.S. Forest Service have conducted a forest health survey of Washington’s forests every year since 1947.

Learn more about DNR’s Forest Health Program, and check out the many resources the U.S. Forest Service has available on Western Forest Insects and Diseases.

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You can’t top a healthy tree

February 23, 2015


The practice of topping trees creates large wounds that are susceptible to disease and decay. Remember to always prune responsibly.

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Learn how to doctor your trees at Lyle seminar

January 12, 2015
DNR continues to seek funding to restore forest health and prevent wildfires in Washington.

DNR continues to seek funding to restore forest health and prevent wildfires in Washington.

You can help Washington’s forests become healthier and less susceptible to fires.

Proper management of forests can reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health and enhance wildlife habitat. Washington State Department of Natural Resources is hosting a free workshop in Lyle February 7 to help owners of eastern Washington forestland learn land management techniques before the 2015 wildfire season begins.

A cadre of foresters, entomologists (insect specialists), and wildlife biologists will be on hand. Fellow landowners will talk about management activities they have undertaken on their land to reduce fuel loads and make their forests more resistant to insects, diseases and wildfire.

Workshop Details

Date:               Saturday, February 7, 2015

Time:              10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Location:       High Prairie Community and Fire Hall

701 Struck Road, Lyle, WA 98635

Note:               A FREE workshop and lunch is provided.

This year, DNR continues to focus on forest health and wildfire prevention. During the 2015 Legislative Session, we’re seeking $20 million in additional funds to restore forest health and to prevent wildfires.

To register for the workshop, contact:

For more on how you can help reduce fire hazards and improve Washington’s forests through DNR’s forest health, fuel reduction and Firewise programs, contact our Northeast or Southeast region offices.

DNR foresters are available to meet with interested landowners, assess the health of their forests, and recommend forest management options. Even if we don’t have resources at that moment, we are always working to provide landowners with the resources they need to make their forests healthier.

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Bah HumBUGs and disease are the problem in our forests

December 18, 2014
pine bark beetle

A pine bark beetle is the size of a grain of rice.

With milder winters, overstocked forests and past forest management practices, Washington’s forests are increasingly becoming a smorgasbord for tree-devouring insects.

The 2014 annual insect and disease aerial survey found that insects and disease killed more than 4 million trees on over 540,000 acres in Washington state.

About 143,000 acres of forestlands east of the Cascade Mountain Range showed especially high levels of pine tree death caused by pine bark beetles, an increase from the 107,000 acres reported in 2013.

You can now explore the latest aerial survey maps on the Department of Natural Resources’ interactive, web-based mapping site: Fire Prevention and Fuels Management Mapping. Click on the Forest Disturbance folder.

Aerial observers this year also identified nearly 740,000 trees across 30,000 eastern Washington acres that died as a result of 2012 wildfire damage or from the bark beetles that subsequently attacked damaged trees. Those numbers are well higher than typical.

Though damage from forest pests was down from historical norms in 2013 and 2014, the number of trees destroyed by insects in the last decade is unprecedented.

Widespread mortality caused by bark beetles and damage from defoliating insects is setting the stage for more wildfires. In some places, critical wildlife habitat is being destroyed.

Why? (more…)


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