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Forest Service Releases Report: Forest Health Conditions in Alaska


May 11, 2010

Juneau, Alaska - "Pull, mow, call and spray, to make invasives go away, go away!" the Denali Elementary first graders sang to the tune of the classic "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" song. These students were the first of many classrooms throughout Alaska to complete lessons from "Weed Wackers: A K-6 Educator's Guide to Invasive Plants of Alaska." Alaska's first Alaska-specific elementary curriculum on invasive plants was written by a mother-daughter team.

That information is from one of the sections of the new Forest Service report, "Forest Health Conditions in Alaska ­ 2009" published online yesterday at the Alaska Region website.

Each year the Forest Service's, Department of Agriculture, State & Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection (FHP) program -- together with Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry's Forest Health Protection Program -- conducts annual statewide aerial detection surveys across all land ownerships.

In 2009, staff and cooperators identified nearly 660,000 acres of forest damage from insects, disease, declines and selected non-living chemical and physical factors in the environment on over 33.6 million acres surveyed. The 73 page report details impacts on surveyed areas, including those from invasive species.

In part, the report shows that, statewide, wood decay of live trees occurs on every tree species across millions of acres and, on an annual basis, substantially reduces tree volume, and contributes to tree mortality.

In Southeast Alaska, for example, approximately one-third of the gross volume of forests is defective due to stem and butt rot fungi. Also, wood decay fungi annually cause considerable defect in mature white spruce, paper birch, and aspen stands of Southcentral and Interior Alaska.

The USDA Forest Service manages the 193 million acres of National Forest System land and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.


On the Web:

Forest Health Conditions in Alaska ­ 2009


Source of News:

USDA Forest Service
Web Site


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