California’s Forests: Where Have All the Big Trees Gone?
They’ve gone to logging and housing—but especially to climate change, says a new study.
California has lost half its big trees since the 1930s, according to a study to be published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—and climate change seems to be a major factor.
The number of trees larger than two feet in diameter has declined by 50 percent on more than 46,000 square miles of California forests, the new study finds. No area was immune, from the foggy northern coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the San Gabriels above Los Angeles. In the Sierra high country, the number of big trees has fallen by more than 55 percent; in parts of southern California the decline was nearly 75 percent.
Many factors contributed to the decline, said Patrick McIntyre,