Wood burning contributes to Cambria forest's woes

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Wood burning contributes to Cambria forest's woes

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:56 pm

Cambrian Letters to the Editor

Wood burning contributes to Cambria forest's woes

By Mary Power Giacoletti

Special to The Cambrian April 1, 2015

I have written articles and letters for years about the impact of wood smoke along the coast of California — the effect on human and plant health. There is an deeply entrenched “suspension of knowing” about the subject, which clouds any rational discussion.

Cambria has a problem similar to San Diego’s; at least 85 percent of the Monterey pines within the urban line are dead or dying.

Meanwhile, 97 percent of the trees outside the urban line are healthy. Since there is no difference in soil, rain, drought, sunshine, fog, etc. between inside and outside the urban line, the source leading to the death of trees has to be specific to the urban area. The most obvious and suspect source is constant smoke from wood-burning devices.

A number of research projects have indicated that wood smoke is doing more harm than we think. According to a 1999 Pennsylvania State study, pollution at night is particularly damaging to a plant’s “guard cells which are essential to the basic process of transpiration.”

Because pollution at night “inhibits” the process, there is “less carbon dioxide consumption, and less oxygen production; less photosynthesis.”

Trees, essentially strangled by nightly pollution are unable to absorb vital moisture. This ongoing, cumulative assault “stresses” the tree to the point where it can no longer withstand the opportunistic insects and fungi with which trees have coexisted for centuries.

A University of California Davis study concludes: “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants weakens trees, makes them more vulnerable to pests, disease and nutrient deficiencies.”

It is not surprising that “Sudden Oak Death,” which has killed “tens of thousands of tanoak, coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve oak, and madrone,” has been documented initially, and most severely in campgrounds.

A study from Chile concluded that trees are more reliant on the quality of the air than the quality of the soil.

For years, Cambria and San Simeon have had a high rate of smoke pollution. Wood burning is a very popular activity. I ride a bicycle primarily and often note while riding through Cambria that the deadest trees are those closest to “active” chimneys. I can often surmise first, from the persistent smell of smoke, that surrounding trees will look particularly damaged.

Money and time can be spread in all sorts of directions in an attempt to save “the Pines,” but unless smoke pollution stops, trees, and humans, will continue to suffer. It is no coincidence that the highest level of pollution has been measured at midnight.

“Wood smoke is the largest particulate pollutant in our air.” (Clean Air Revival Inc.)

How sad that residents, living in the beauty of the North Coast, are deceived into thinking that pollution is not pollution.

Mary Power Giacoletti lives in San Simeon.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/04/01 ... .html?rh=1
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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