The practice of topping trees creates large wounds that are susceptible to disease and decay. Remember to always prune responsibly.
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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.
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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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.
The Asian longhorned beetle is one truly scary insect, and it’s looking to hitch a ride on your campfire wood.
This beetle poses a threat to America’s hardwood trees, recreation and forestry. Maple and many popular urban street trees are at the top of its dinner menu, and it can even kill healthy trees. With no current cure, early identification and eradication are critical to its control.
The beetle most likely travels to the U.S. inside solid wood packing materials from China. It’s been intercepted at ports and found in warehouses throughout the country. Although this unpleasant pest is not yet found in western states, there are currently infestations in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
Another source of the threat is through firewood being moved from infested areas. Never take firewood with you when you head out for adventure, and here’s why.
Learn more from our experts. DNR’s Forest Health Program provides technical assistance on tree and forest health care for a variety of public and private landowners.
Overcome your fear of bugs and help trees survive:
You also can learn more about pesky, hungry pests at http://www.hungrypests.com/.
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Now is the time to take advantage of the season when beetles go dormant. Join experts at a free workshop in the to learn the best way to prune and thin pine trees and to reduce risks of bark beetle infestations.
The workshop will address the continued outbreak of Ips bark beetles in the Columbia River Gorge area.
When: Thursday, October 30, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: White Salmon Library
77 NE Wauna Avenue
White Salmon, WA
State foresters and entomologists from both Oregon and Washington will provide expert advice and answer questions about bark beetles and pine tree health. The Underwood Conservation District will promote cost-share programs to assist in beetle-killed tree removal.
For the first time ever in 2010, the California fivespined Ips was recorded in the Underwood area of Washington state. This species was unknown to occur at damaging population levels in eastern Oregon until then. The range of this Ips beetle had recently been documented to extend throughout the Willamette Valley. Now experts have found the beetle as far north as Fort Lewis, Washington in Thurston County and as far east as Goldendale, Washington and The Dalles, Oregon. The California fivespined Ips only feeds on pine trees and can affect ornamental trees as well as those in the forest.
To learn more, WSU Extension has developed a factsheet, Pest Watch: California Fivespined Ips – A pine engraver new to Washington State which can be downloaded for free at: http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS085E/FS085E.pdf.
For more information about the workshop, please contact Todd Murray (email@example.com, 509-427-3931) at the WSU Extension office or Dan Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-493-1936) at the Underwood Conservation District.
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When we walk in the forest, we are dazzled and soothed by the leaves and needles of the trees above and around us. These surfaces — the photosynthetic factory of the forest — gather sunlight and pull carbon from the air to build themselves and all of the organisms that depend on trees.
When trees reach into the sky to form a canopy layer in the forest, the interacting crowns create a remarkable maze of three-dimensional spaces between and on the branches. The surfaces of these branches and leaves, known as the canopy, can be considered a habitat niche with specialized functions for many species of wildlife. Animals that live in trees — “arboreal” species — feed on the cones and seeds that trees produce. The surfaces of needles and branches also are home for insects, and hunting grounds for their predators. This complex habitat contains varying opportunities for wildlife to make a living by hunting insects, eating lichens, gathering seeds, or other taking specialized actions.
Birds in the canopy
Birds are the most obvious species to utilize this habitat niche, with rich varieties showing up at different times of the year. Some are resident, remaining in the same, or nearby, habitats year around, while others are migratory. Many of our migratory birds come back from the neo-tropics (that is, Central America and even South America) for breeding season, and return south in the fall. (more…)
Mathematical models developed by area researchers show great promise in predicting how future climate changes will affect the timing of the budding and flowering of coniferous trees here. That’s important knowledge because conifers, such as Douglas fir, are important to Washington State’s economy and environment.
DNR’s Meridian Seed Orchard, southeast of Olympia, is a major source of tree seeds for state forestlands and small family forestland owners. Owned and operated by DNR, the orchard produces seed for western red cedar, noble fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western larch, western white pine, and other coniferous tree species used to replant after timber harvests around the state.
Meridian Seed Orchard also is an efficient and reliable resource for collecting data to develop climate models because the seeds it gathers and grows come from many different areas and elevations in Washington. DNR’s self-funded Webster Forest Nursery uses seed from Meridian to produce between 8 million and 10 million seedlings annually to plant after timber harvests on state trust lands and small, privately-owned woodlands. The secret to successful planting is matching tree seedlings to meet the many different weather and soil zones around the state. (more…)
The ‘official’ start of the 2014 fire season in Washington State is in April, but DNR is already helping private landowners to reduce wildfire risks. One effort likely to pay off starting this year is our drive to improve forest health conditions, a big problem in many of the state’s drier eastside forests.
A federally funded cost-share program, administered by DNR in Washington State, pays for up to half of a landowner’s cost to thin and prune trees and remove forest slash. The program is available to forestland owners in portions of Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties where a Forest Health Hazard Warning was declared last fall by DNR and the U.S. Forest Service, which is funding the program.
Last year, DNR mailed more than 10,500 informational notices to landowners in the designated forest health hazard warning areas describing how to assess forest conditions and reduce disease, insect, and wildfire risks. DNR also established a toll-free telephone number, launched a web page, conducted extensive media outreach, and held 16 workshops to spread the word about DNR’s various assistance programs.
During 2013, DNR foresters responded to technical assistance requests from more than 500 landowners who manage over 97,000 acres. The federal funding for sharing forest thinning and slash disposal costs with landowners aims to improve forest conditions and dramatically reduce wildfire risks by protecting healthier trees through the removal of small, weak trees and disposing of the resulting limbs and brush.
This year, DNR continues to focus on forest health concerns. Thinning today’s overgrown forests can encourage the growth of more ponderosa pine and western larch —trees better adapted to the area’s historic pattern of smaller, but more frequent, naturally caused fires.
Forest landowners may apply for cost-share funding online.
To learn more about the Forest Health Hazard Warning, visit http://www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth
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Yesterday, Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University was honored by the Washington State Senate for his distinguished research career as a plant pathologist.
Senate Resolution 8677, sponsored by Senator Jim Hargrove, outlines Dr. Cook’s multifaceted career from his time as Chief Scientist with the US Department of Agriculture to his 40-year career at Washington State University, where he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Cook spent his career pursuing cutting-edge research in plant pathology and crop and soil science, revolutionizing how agriculture approaches crop productivity and disease management.
Most recently, Dr. Cook headed a study to better understand root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which is a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requested the study from the Academy of Sciences because very little is understood about laminated root rot. The disease can reduce timber yield in forests by 5-15 percent, which translates to more than $10 million in losses over a 2-year period.
In addition to some 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, Dr. Cook has co-authored two books: Biological Control of Plant Pathogens and Wheat Health Management. In 1988, he led the team of researchers at Washington State University that made the first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest, which was a microorganism for root disease control on wheat.
Among many other honors Dr. Cook has received over the course of his career, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and continues to support the agricultural sciences through this organization.
Dr. Cook is most admired for his commitment in sharing scientific knowledge with everyone – students, farmers, policy makers, and the general public.
Check out the photos on DNR’s Flickr site.
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