From: Julie Rodriguez, Care2, More from this Affiliate
Published September 26, 2016 06:53 AM

Millions of Trees are Dying Across the US

Throughout the U.S., trees are dying at an astonishing rate. The reasons for the die-off vary from location to location — drought, disease, insects and wildfires – but the root cause in many of these cases is the same: climate change.

The epidemic is even threatening the oldest white oak tree in America, a 600-year-old giant in New Jersey that predates Columbus’ visit to the Americas.

The effect is particularly apparent in mountain states like California, where 66 million trees have simply disappeared from the Sierra Nevada range since 2010. The Forest Service blames the years-long drought in the area and the spread of pine beetles.

In northern California, the ominously named “Sudden Oak Death” is infecting hundreds of different plants, from massive redwoods to backyard oaks. The disease is transmitted through water, so it can easily be spread by wind and rain over long distances. In fact, the spread already spans more than half the length of the state.

The presence of so many dead trees would be a tragedy anywhere, but in the mountains of the West, it’s particularly dangerous because the trees provide fuel for forest fires. It’s impossible for forest workers to chop down and remove millions of trees, so the majority of them are still standing.

In some cases, death and disease have overtaken entire mountainsides. Some researchers estimate that we could lose all needle leaf evergreens in the Southwest U.S. within the next hundred years.

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