Chapter 5 - Tree mortalityThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Tree mortality is a natural process in all forest ecosystems. High mortality can be an indicator of forest health problems. On a regional scale, high mortality levels may indicate widespread insect or disease impacts or stress from large-scale regional weather events, such as severe droughts. High mortality may also occur if a large proportion of the forest in a particular region is made up of older, senescent stands. The approach presented here seeks to detect mortality patterns that might reflect changes to ecosystem processes at large scales. In many cases, the proximate cause of mortality may be discernable. Understanding proximate causes of mortality may provide insight into whether the mortality is within the range of natural variation or reflects more fundamental changes to ecological processes.