Forest Service scientists develop new tools to expedite decision-making after extreme drought

By Steve Norman, Southern Research Station
US Department of Agriculture
June 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Extreme drought and pine beetle outbreaks are of increasing concern for forests in the south to the extent that USDA approved financial and technical assistance to help owners restore forests on non-industrial private forestlands in Mississippi and Louisiana. Behind much of the information about the drought and the trees adversely affected are Forest Service scientists who have developed tools that allow users to see real-time effects of the drought. …When high heat develops quickly, meteorologists refer to these events as flash droughts. One such drought hit the record books in Mississippi and Louisiana in 2023, emerging in late summer as the rains diminished, but it was the extreme heat that shattered records. The consequences for the region’s forests were stunning. Between October 2023 and January 2024, millions of dead pine trees were noticeable across southwest Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. 

Read More