September Headwaters Tour Looks at Bark Beetle Epidemic
Entire tree species at risk of extinction in California’s forests
The Sierra Nevada mountains are dotted with orange and brown patches of dead trees. The U.S. Forest Service estimates with aerial surveys that more than 100 million trees have died in California this decade, 62 million dying in 2016 alone.
This epidemic will increase risk of wildfire, reduce our forests ability to absorb greenhouse gases and limit the effectiveness of forests and meadows to regulate water quality and moderate downhill flow. While drought conditions are one leading cause of tree mortality in California, the dry conditions also exacerbate tree infestations from more than a half-dozen different bark beetles.
On our Headwaters Tour, Sept. 13 and 14, guests will hear from leading forest managers and entomologists on the extent of this epidemic, how it is altering our forests and impacting upper watersheds, and what can be done to mitigate the damages.
The most damaged forests in the Sierra Nevada are the western slopes at elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet. This area is populated by ponderosa pine, which is being decimated by the Western pine and mountain pine beetles.
The five-year drought, which ended earlier this year, created forest conditions that were even more favorable to these insects and reduced the forests’ natural defenses. These forests are so heavily damaged that experts believe they are likely altered forever with a risk that these trees will go extinct in California.
To learn more about this epidemic and see these forests first-hand, click here to purchase tickets for this exciting, fun and incredibly timely tour. The early bird discount is good through Aug. 14th and this tour is selling out fast, so don’t hesitate to purchase your seat on the bus.
This tour begins and ends in Rancho Cordova, 15 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento and will overnight in Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe.
For an additional fee, you can receive continuing education credits for the tour. Click here for information about all of our tours or contact Tour Director Dan Scott at (916) 444-6240 for more details.