The trees that shade, cool and feed people from Ventura County to the Mexican border are dying so fast that within a few years it’s possible the region will look, feel, sound and smell much less pleasant than it does now.
“We’re witnessing a transition to a post-oasis landscape in Southern California,” says Greg McPherson, a supervisory research forester with the U.S. Forest Service who has been studying what he and others call an unprecedented die-off of the trees greening Southern California’s parks, campuses and yards.
Botanists in recent years have documented insect and disease infestations as they’ve hop-scotched about the region, devastating Griffith Park’s sycamores and destroying over 100,000 willows in San Diego County’s Tijuana River Valley Regional Park, for example.
McPherson’s is the first survey to quantify and assess the big picture.
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