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San Diego County Oak Trees Threatened

There's a new pest attacking oak trees in San Diego County. Officials are concerned because the insect has infested up to 70-percent of the oak trees in Alpine and Julian. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has d

San Diego County Oak Trees Threatened

There's a new pest attacking oak trees in San Diego County. Officials are concerned because the insect has infested up to 70-percent of the oak trees in Alpine and Julian. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

In the last seven years, oaks have been dying or declining in eastern San Diego County and the Cleveland National Forest.

Forest Service scientists thought the major killer was drought.

But now they've discovered a wood-boring beetle that's new to California  - and that beetle has an appetite.

Brian Harris with the Cleveland National Forest says dead oak trees do not resprout.

Harris: If we've got a lot of dead oak trees out there, we're really adding to the fuel accumulation out  in the forest too. We don't need additional fuels out in the forest there's enough out there. And we all know how wildfires take place here in San Diego County.

He says the beetle has killed large numbers of Coast live oak and California black oak in the east county mountains.

Harris says the beetle may have been transported here or has expanded its range.

He says forest service officials are working on plans to eliminate the beetle.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

 

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