Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going, Going...

But not yet gone, thankfully. This forest used to be full of enormous trees like the ones above (I don't know who the man is, but he gives an idea of how tall the trees are) which are a mix of Giant Sequoia, Ponderosa Pine and Western Red Cedar. This is near the Burnt Mill Beach Club, which is on the south side of Lake Arrowhead.

The trees on the hills on the north side of the lake, which actually would be south facing, aren't faring so well.

Before 2000, we had Pine Bark Beetle infestations every 100 years or so, and only a few trees were killed. One could not see the houses in the above photo because they were obscured by the huge trees. And, until the unfortunate building boom that started in the mid 1970's and is, insanely, still going on, most of the houses weren't there. (I'm not talking about families that build one home for themselves, I'm speaking of large scale builders). During the infestation that occurred from 2000 to 2004 the San Bernardino Mountain range lost over 1.5 million trees. There are many houses in the trees that are closest to the lake in this photo, but the trees hide most of them.

But...look closely. Most of the evergreen trees closest to the lake are starting to take on a brownish hue, or their needles are fading from a green so deep it used to look almost black when it was cloudy, to a yellowish-green. These trees aren't being attacked by Pine Bark Beetles; the summers up here have simply warmed too much for them to thrive anymore.

I keep hoping that climate change will give us more rain and snow in the winter than what was normal in the past. I hope that, maybe, more rain would help the trees to cope with the warmer temperatures.

Call it what you want; Global Warming, Climate Change. Whatever it is, it's happening. It's real. It's happening everywhere, whether it's dying forests or melting glaciers or something else. And I can't understand why the leaders of the world aren't making it their number one priority to stop it. Regular people in their daily lives can do a lot, but it isn't going to be enough unless governments around the world rapidly come up with plans to move their countries quickly away from dependence on fossil fuels, and provide viable ways to reverse the warming that has already taken place.

Because even though the forests and glaciers of the world are not gone yet, they are going.


  1. Sadly true-- the forests around Mount Mitchell are dying from acid rain and a pest called wooly adelgid. And we're losing native dogwoods from a fungus called anthracnose. The native chestnuts, of course, were lost years ago.

  2. Yes, our dogwoods are sick, too. I forgot to mention them. Actually, every tree species up here is being struggling.


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