• Why are 129 million trees dying in the Sierra Forest?

    Many people have observed this historic tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada. The Central Sierra Historical Society created this site to help visitors understand the causes and effects of this complex event. It is our hope that visitors will be able to use this knowledge to prevent it from happening again in any forest in the future.

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A culmination and combination of factors all working together to create a dramatic change in our forest landscape

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Factors affecting trees dying in the Sierra Forest
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Bark Beetle

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Drought

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Fire

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Forest Management

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Climate Change

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Overcrowding

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Education

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Politics

Drought affecting forest growth

Drought

Four years of less than average rainfall in California and the role it has played in tree mortality.

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Close up of Bark Beetle

Bark Beetle

An aggressive native species that thrived in this chain of events.

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Climate change affecting the Sierra Forest

Climate Change

Historical forests have experienced changing climates many times for thousands of years, and survived. What is unique about this period in history?

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Forest fire in the Sierras

Fire

Pre-historic natural fire, wildfire, and increased fire threat due to an overcrowded forest, leading to catastrophic fires.

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Poor forest management affecting the Sierra Forest

Forest Stewardship

Recent forestry research and strategies are teaching us ways to avoid these kinds of catastrophic events.

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Image Gallery

Ask An Expert

Picture of John R. Mount, Sierra Forest expert

John R. Mount

John R. Mount worked for Southern California Edison for 31 years, managing the company’s 20,000 acres of private land surrounding Shaver Lake. He has a total of 57 years in forest management starting with the Forest Service and then 15 years in private practice.

John has received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership and Stewardship Award, and the Conservationist of the Year award from the western section of the Wildlife Society. He was the recipient of the Frances Raymond Award, as outstanding forester in California for 2010.

In 2010 he published a comprehensive book on forest management in the Sierra Nevada titled, “Torching Conventional Forestry, the Artful Application of Science”.
He is a 1961 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.S. degree in forest management.

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This project was made possible with generous donations from the following:

PGE logo
Southern California Edison logo
The Bertha and John Garabedian
Charitable Foundation
John & Christine Boogaert – Video Production
John Mount – Host & Narrator