A study by state and federal forest officials released on Monday stated that 18 million trees died since the fall of 2017 as the state emerged from a years-long drought.
Federal and state officials say that while tree mortality in the state has actually slowed since the drought was declared over in 2017-2018, the number of trees that have died across 9.7 million acres of federal, state, local and private land since 2010 has reached 147 million.
“It is encouraging that the rate of mortality slowed in 2018. However, 18 million trees are an indication that the forests of California are still under significant stress,” Thom Porter, Cal Fire Director and California’s state forester, said in a statement. “The stress of drought, insects, disease and prolific wildfire will continue to challenge the resilience of the state’s forests.”