One third of California's trees are dead


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/22/one-third-of-californias-tre.html


#2

Well they are about due for some massive forest fires to clean up that mess.


#3

slowly at first and then all at once.

I knew Grab them by the Pussy wasn’t going to be the permanent motto of the Trump era.


#5

I have lots of photographs from 2008 that show widespread damage to forests. I thought a lot of it up north was the [whatever] beetle, but the forests were clearly in trouble.


#6

It’s all interrelated. This is the new normal for the Western US with climate change.

Millions of forested acres in the United States have been affected by bark beetles. By killing trees, bark beetle outbreaks can significantly influence forest carbon storage and cycling. At the same time, current research shows that warming summer and winter temperatures are driving beetle population outbreaks in susceptible forests, and allowing these insects to persist in habitats previously constrained by cold temperatures. These pages discuss how bark beetles and climate change interact to affect forested ecosystems.

From: Bark Beetles and Climate Change in the United States


#7

Just stating the obvious.


#8

I’ve been told that a lot of this has to do with the sheer quantity of precious life-juice being sucked from the aquifer there and wasted on farms, pools and landscaping.


#9

stating the obvious, yes. Justly, well, thats a different matter.


#10

Less than one third of the sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) on my property are alive. Nobody seems to want to investigate, but I hear anecdotally that whatever is killing them is spreading along watercourses down into Maryland and up into Pennsylvania.

It’s possibly related to pollution. Warmer winters, triggered by pollution, have made the Kingfishers here stop migrating south in the fall.

If Californians want to take personal action to try to help the situation, they can decrease their water use, decrease their use of all items shipped from outside their immediate community, and hand-craft all those downed trees into useful and/or beautiful wooden objects so their carbon content gets sequestered. Unfortunately, no individual’s effort will count for much, but that’s all the more reason to act unilaterally. Waiting for the masses is how mass movements fail.


#11

Wow, when the Chinese perpetrate a hoax they really go all-out.


#12

But… THE SKY GOD controls the weather… right?


#13

I wonder how much of this problem is related to us preventing forest fires from properly refreshing the forests soil. Nature does a great job of managing the problem if we leave her to it.


#14

well this certainly isn’t good news for CO2 sequestering. trees are our main buffer and defense on land against global warming, the oceans have already absorbed more then their fair share. fuck.


#15

@NYTIMES responsible for killing trees to get cheaper paper. Sad!


#16


#17

Talk to the state government? 80% of our water use is agricultural and under the control/thumbs of a very small group of people.


#18

Hmmmm… I usually don’t consider talking to be action, more the opposite. Talking is important, and I’m not trying to say it isn’t. It’s just that talking isn’t taking action, talking is what you do before and after taking action. Carefully.

Trying (desperately) to find a bright side, that means you only have to influence a small group of people…


#19

“It’s not beyond the pale to suggest that this is a pretty unprecedented event in at least recent history,” said Adrian Das, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

We’re going to build a pale and Grendel is going to pay for it!


#20

It is important that the lands remain as forests from a CO2 storage point of view, even of more drought resistant species becomes dominant. It’s like the pine beetle up here in Canada. Yes trees are being killed, but provided trees grow to replace them (even a different species) the longer-term CO2 effect from the tree-deaths is reduced. It is when forests are removed altogether for urban development or agriculture that the effect is permanent.

Of course, a permanently drier climate may mean a different (lower) density of forest (or no forest) and thus a net escape of CO2. Conversely, warmer climates can potentially support more dense forests and net capture provided water is available (this sure doesn’t seem like a problem here in the PNW as we slowly go moldy in the wettest fall in my recollection). But this is only during the transition. Stable forests are in CO2 equilibrium, they aren’t net consumers as the dead material eventually rots the CO2 back into the atmosphere.

I’m not suggesting that this isn’t evidence of a massive problem, but the tree deaths themselves are the evidence of, and not a significant cause of, climate change.


#21

No, you have to convince a very large group of people to not eat the produce.