The California drought has been hard on skiers and snowboarders, but it has been downright deadly for California’s trees. How deadly has it been? According to the U.S. Forest Service, 102 million trees have now died in the state since 2010, including 62 million trees in this year alone.
The five years of drought combined with increased bark beetle activity and higher temperatures have led to the massive die-off.
The question now is what to do with the dead trees. Some officials feel that the trees should be turned into lumber or burn them for electricity. Removal of the trees is also what many fire experts believe is the right course of action since having too much dead wood on the forest floor can actually damage the soil when wildfires do happen due to very high temperatures.
But some environmentalists have advocated for leaving the trees in the forests, saying it’s part of the life-cycle of a forest for dead wood to decompose and provide wildlife habitat on the forest floor.