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April 12, 2016
Vol. 3, Issue 2
April 2016
Save the Date!  

Spring 2016 - Sudden Oak Death Community Blitzes throughout central and northern coastal CA

June 21 - 23
- Sixth Sudden Oak Death Science Symposium: Biosecurity, Plant Trade, and Native Habitats; Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA

June 29 - CFPC 2016 Insect and Disease Field Tour, Klamath National Forest, Happy Camp, CA

September 13-15
Coast Redwood Forest Symposium: Past Successes and Future Directions; Sequoia Conference Center, Eureka, CA
California Tree Mortality Task Force
A Tree Mortality Task Force has been established to address Governor Brown's state of emergency proclamation regarding unprecedented tree mortality in California. The Task Force is made up of representatives from state, federal, and local government agencies; affected industries; utility companies; non-profit organizations; and other interested parties. The intent of the group is to minimize hazard tree risks, identify wood utilization opportunities, mitigate restrictive regulations, and provide outreach and education regarding the bark beetle epidemic. Task Force members are also working to develop proactive management plans across all ownership boundaries throughout impacted areas in an effort to address forest health issues at the landscape level, helping California's forests be more resilient to future droughts and bark beetle epidemics. For more information on the Task Force, as well as reports and deliverables, including county resource materials, go to
Trees - The Alternate Black Bear Food
Black bears feed on trees in California as an alternate food source when traditional food is scarce in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties. Feeding behavior is based on tree size classes and time of year. Generally, stands following precommercial (PCT) or commercial thinning are at greatest risk 2 years after thinning has occurred. Bears prefer trees between 11-20" dbh, yet smaller and larger trees can be attacked. Stands maintained at relatively high basal areas (> 150 ft 2/acre) are less likely to be targeted.
Black bear feeding girdled coast redwood. By G. Giusti, UCCE. 
Most bear feeding takes place between May and June. It is postulated that this is a time of year when bears are losing weight, the salmon runs have finished, and substantial berry and nut crops are not yet available. Research on Hoopa Tribal lands has shown that female bears are the first to select a sub-watershed to feed on trees. Females are lactating during this time of year and the trees provide calories that can sustain them and their cubs. It is believed that bears select trees by first tasting them and then by selecting a tree that has begun its spring resin flow. Damage can be extensive once a tree has been "chosen" by a bear, occasionally leading to tree mortality.
Redwood bark is relatively fibrous and is often pulled off in large strips that are left hanging on the tree. Bark can be removed several feet from the ground as bears will climb and feed as high as the lateral branches will support their weight.
Recreational hunting and depredation permits have been the traditional approach to managing bear damage by reducing the density of bears in a watershed. However, societal shifts toward predator management and a recent law prohibiting the use of dogs for bear hunting has greatly curtailed population control. Silviculture provides the best long-term solution to minimizing bear damage, yet, young stands that still require PCT and other silvicultural treatments remain at increased risk for bear feeding until they grow beyond the preferred size class.
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When buying wood to heat your home or for springtime camping, remember to buy firewood from local sources, helping to minimize the spread of pests and diseases - Buy It Where You Burn It.  For a list of firewood dealers local to where you live, go to


Katie Harrell
Communications Director  
California Forest Pest Council
California Forest Pest Council | (510) 847-5482 | |

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