Causes of Forest Devastation
In 2012 alone, more than 56,000 wildfires burned over 9 million acres of forestland. Many of these fires were started by either lightning or human activity.
Infestations by some insects—like the southern pine beetle—have reached epidemic levels in select forests, killing hundreds of thousands of trees and making the forest more susceptible to fire.
Diseases like sudden oak death, spruce decline and white pine blister rust take an annual toll on trees in forests around the country.
High winds and severe storms—including ice storms in the winter—can topple forest trees like toothpicks.