The miraculous story of the near-indestructible giant trees that millions of Americans tell their children is no longer true.
In America they may be proud of their giant trees, but the inhabitants of that great space of wonders are also helping to destroy what is given to them in loan.
By all the pollution man has created our environment is crying for help.
For the first time in recorded history, tiny bark beetles emboldened by the climate crisis have started to kill giant sequoia trees, according to a joint National Park Service and US Geological Survey study set to be published later this year. Twenty-eight have gone since 2014. The combination of drought stress and fire damage appears to make the largest sequoias susceptible to deadly insect infestations that they would usually withstand.
California’s great drought took already care that lovely trees were enormously damaged. One of the 28 great trees which could not keep up though optimistically named Lazarus, was standing with proud in the Giant Forest in Sequoia national park, surrounded by other sequoias and a handful of cedars and pines that died with it in California’s great drought.
When Dr Christy Brigham, who is responsible for the welfare of the ecosystems in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, saw Lazarus for the first time, all she could do was weep.
“This is a tree that has lived through 2,000 years of fires, other droughts, wet years, dry years, hot years, cold years. It’s been here longer than Europeans have been in this country and it’s dead. And it shouldn’t be dead.
This is not how giant sequoias die. It’s suppose to stand there for another 500 years with all its needles on it, this quirky, persistent, impressive, amazing thing, and then fall over. It’s not supposed to have all of its needles fall off from the top to the bottom and then stand there like that. That’s not how giant sequoias die,”
she says, standing next to the skeletal Lazarus as the occasional tourist wanders past.
2000 year old Lazarus in 2020 a dead monarch sequoia, standing surrounded by a handful of cedars and pines that died in California’s great drought
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‘This is not how sequoias die. It’s supposed to stand for another 500 years’