Eight maps of California showing drought severity progression


Unprecedented Drought: four years of drought have put tremendous stress on trees in California's forests, resulting in widespread tree mortality.

  • Extreme drought puts additional pressure on already stressed trees, leading to new and expanding mortality. This drought is most severe in the southern half of the state; however, drought conditions in the northern half of the state continue to intensify.
  • National Forests provide approximately 50 percent of the state's water supply, which is estimated to be worth about $9.5 billion annually. These forests provide a source of safe, clean water to Californians. This water helps to support a thriving agricultural economy that is the world's fifth largest supplier of food and commodities with a value of $37.5 billion in 2010.
  • The Forest Service created a Drought Task Force in 2014 to respond to local issues thoughtfully and effectively and also consistently with regional, national and state regulations.
  • When the drought subsides and water levels increase, we expect to see rates of tree mortality decline; however we still anticipate large numbers of already stressed trees to die.
  • The Forest Service is committed as conservation leaders to work with state, federal, and local agencies and communities in responding to this critical situation.