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Ecologists, environmentalists disagree on what to do with California’s 102 million dead trees

Increasing Tree Mortality Near Lake Tahoe - aerial detection survey photo taken near Lake Tahoe, July 2016.
USFS Region 5 / Flickr Creative Commons
Increasing Tree Mortality Near Lake Tahoe - aerial detection survey photo taken near Lake Tahoe, July 2016.

Earlier this month, California learned it’s in the midst of an unprecedented, drought-fueled die-off of trees.

Earlier this month, California learned it’s in the midst of an unprecedented, drought-fueled die-off of trees.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that over 100 million trees have died in California since 2010. This year alone, they counted 62 million dead trees. Normally they see about 1 million. The question now is what to do with those dead trees.

Do they really pose an increased fire risk in the west? Should they be cut down and logged? Experts disagree about that. And any future move could have big implications for the state’s ecology.

Guests:

Ken Pimlott, director, CAL FIRE and a member of California’s Tree Mortality Task Force

Chad Hanson, research ecologist with the John Muir Project and co-author and co-editor of the recent book, “The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix.” He’s written for the Los Angeles Times about the wildfire threat dead trees pose

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