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April 16, 2016



The Mercury News is back today with more grim tree factoids:

But across the state, once towering pines have collapsed, their desiccated limbs sprawled across forest floors. Toppled oak and tanoak trees, their trunks decomposing from the inside out, litter the ground.

Choked with the detritus of at least 70 million dead trees, vast tracts of the landscape have become a botanical emergency room, parched by drought, invaded by damaging insects and infected with a deadly organism that may have piggybacked its way to the state on rhododendron leaves.

In many communities of the central and southern Sierra Nevada range, “80 percent of trees are dead,” said Ken Pimlott, the state’s top forester as director of Cal Fire, the state forestry and fire-protection agency.

The catastrophic tree loss has taken out 66 million pines and other conifers and more than 5 million oak trees and tanoaks, which are relatives in the beech family. Nearly 60 million more water-starved trees are teetering.

When trees burn and decay, they release “black carbon,” a highly destructive emission many thousand times more polluting than other greenhouse gases. A wildfire around Yosemite National Park in 2013 discharged as much carbon as 2.3 million cars emit in a year, state officials say.

Brown asked the Legislature for $150 million to address the problem. Lawmakers appropriated $51 million for this fiscal year. Counties will get $30 million of that.
$100 Billion for a train to LA and $150 million for a real environmental disaster that has the potential to cause more "black carbon" to be released into the air than one can really comprehend. Nice work, Guv.

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