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Tree death multi-faceted

Grasslands on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
Coastal meadow, one of the many habitats on the Mendocino coast

February 24, 2022 — Trees along the Mendocino and Sonoma coastline have been falling victim to a rogues’ gallery of foes in the last twenty years, according to Chris Lee, a forest pest specialist with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Lee spoke to the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society earlier this week about the many factors that have been decimating the coastal trees, including pests, drought, climate change, and land management practices. Bishop and Monterey pines have been especially hard hit, but tanoaks and madrones have also played host to a variety of pathogens, many of them invasive.

While Lee said more data points are needed to make decisions about how to respond, his study revealed pathogens that thrive in changing conditions. That’s part of the story about a stand of old Bishop pines on the Sonoma side of the Mendonoma coast, which is where Lee said the puzzle pieces of local tree mortality came together.