Jun 7, 2016

Aerial Survey Program critical to battling tree mortality

California
USA
by
John C. Heil III
,
US Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service’s aerial survey team estimates tree mortality in California by flying over the forests and observing the canopy's texture and color. Photo: USDA
The U.S. Forest Service’s aerial survey team estimates tree mortality in California by flying over the forests and observing the canopy's texture and color. Photo: USDA

With tree mortality rising to an estimated record-high 27.6 million trees in California in 2015, the role of the U.S. Forest Service’s aerial survey team is more critical than ever.

The U.S. Forest Service began aerial survey detection in the Pacific Northwest Region in the 1950s, with a small program in the Pacific Southwest Region (California) established in the 1990s.

Last year, Aerial Survey Program Manager Jeffrey Moore and his team discovered nearly 10 times more dead trees than the previously recorded high of 3.3 million in 2014