'Unprecedented' Tree Die-Off Hits Southern California

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh
Credit: Cleveland National Forest
Above: Dead trees in the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County are pictured in this undated photo. They are a casualty of the goldspotted oak borer beetle.

Researchers from the U.S. Forest Service are documenting what they are calling an unprecedented die-off of trees in urban areas across Southern California.

Sycamores, willows, avocado and citrus trees are dying because of the drought, pests and disease infestations.

Greg McPherson, a supervisory research forester with the Forest Service, estimates that a pest called the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle alone could kill 27 million trees across the region. That is about 40 percent of the area’s 70 million urban trees.

McPherson joined Midday Edition Wednesday to talk about the environmental and economic impacts of California’s tree die-off.