The State of the Nation’s Forests: Annual Report Summarizes Forest Health across the U.S.

Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017 includes 15 chapters focused on impacts to forest health from disease, drought, fire, insects, and other stressors.

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017.

The report is the 17th such summary in a series sponsored by the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program and published by SRS.

“If you care about the health of U.S. forests, this report will interest you,” says Kevin Potter, a North Carolina State University scientist who cooperates with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center. “A lot of people spent a lot of time putting together information about a lot of different aspects of forest health for this report.”

Potter co-edited the report with Barbara Conkling, also a Center cooperator and NCSU scientist.

Scientists from across the Forest Service as well as university researchers, state partners, and many other experts contributed to the 2017 FHM report, which is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. The report includes short- and long-term forest health assessments from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. It also summarizes the status and trends of a variety of forest health indicators.

The 2017 FHM report reflects findings from the previous year. According to Potter, the state of U.S. forests as of 2016 is “troubling.” “We have a great deal of forest in the United States, and much of it is in good shape,” says Potter. “At the same time, fires, insects and diseases, and droughts are impacting forest health in many places, and some of those forests may be altered permanently.”


For more information, see this blog posting from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station.


July 3, 2018