Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dead Trees

Dead Trees - Yosemite  2016
Dead Trees - Yosemite  2016

Very disturbing. Vast swaths of dead trees throughout the mountains, victims of bark beetles, the drought and, of course, climate change. This is a highly visible change from only last year! And it's only going to get worse.

26 million trees have died so far, according to the L.A. Times.

And from an August 6 SF Chronicle article:

“I was told by a lot of people that it wouldn’t ever spread as far,” said Asner, as he mapped the die-off on his onboard computer with crewmate Joseph Heckler. “But look what we’re flying over. Most of this was all fine last year.”

As the aircraft pushed to the southern Sierra, not far from Fresno, clover-green hillsides gave way to sprawling patches of yellow, orange and cinnamon. High-elevation lakes, like Shaver Lake in Fresno County and Bass Lake in Madera County, were almost completely surrounded by dead trees. Wooded canyons in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks appeared rust-colored. Mountains east of Bakersfield were bronze.

The article concludes:

Ultimately, the magnitude of tree mortality may signal a wholesale transformation of the forest. Some scientists speculate that woodlands, in many areas, will disappear and give way to brush and grasses that are more tolerant of hotter, dryer weather.

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