Dead Tree Forest

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The Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire are recent reminders of that type of devastation. The Woolsey Fire started the same day, killed three people, burned about 97, acres, and destroyed about 1, structures. Since , federal, state, and local partners have felled 1.

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According to Andrew Madsen, U. Forest Service spokesperson, the Monterey Ranger District covers , acres and includes the Ventana and Silver Peak wilderness areas. In summer , an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park breathed life into the Soberanes Fire which burned for more than two months, blackened more than , acres in Monterey County, engaged more than 5, personnel at its peak, and claimed one life, 57 homes and 11 outbuildings in its path.

Why Dead Standing Trees are Essential to Forests

The Soberanes Fire was considered the most expensive wildfire in U. Madsen said the Soberanes Fire consumed many different trees in its wake including dead and live conifers, oak and redwood. About overseas pests that damage or feed on trees have been introduced to US forests due to the growth in international trade and travel. A PNAS-published study of the 15 most damaging non-native forest pests has found that they destroy so many trees that about 6m tons of carbon are expelled each year from the dying plants.

This is the equivalent, researchers say, of adding an extra 4.

Did You Know? Dead Trees Play an Important Role

The threats range from the wood borer to pathogens and organisms that feed on tree sap. Some diseases, such as one that has infected trees across Hawaii , are little understood by scientists.

Who can blame them for the hesitation? The death services industry is heavily regulated and fraught with religious and health considerations. But in a forest south of Silicon Valley, a new start-up is hoping to change that. The company is called Better Place Forests.

And so Mr. The Better Place team is this month opening a forest in Point Arena, a bit south of Mendocino; preselling trees at a second California location, in Santa Cruz; and developing four more spots around the country. They have a few dozen remains in the soil already, and Mr. Gibson says they have sold thousands of trees to the future dead.

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And other than the topic of dead bodies coming up fairly often, the office is a normal San Francisco start-up, with around 45 people bustling around and frequenting the roof deck with a view of the water. There is a certain risk to being buried in a start-up forest.


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When the tree dies, Better Place says it will plant a new one at that same spot. But a redwood can live years, and almost all start-ups in Silicon Valley fail, so it requires a certain amount of faith that someone will be there to install a new sapling. Still, Mr. Gibson said most customers, especially those based in the Bay Area, like the idea of being part of a start-up even after life. The first few people to buy trees were called founders.

Gibson, a tall man who speaks slowly and carefully, as though he is giving bad news gently. Customers come to claim a tree for perpetuity.

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Cremation is not included. A steward then installs a small round plaque in the earth like a gravestone. When the ashes come, the team at Better Place digs a three-foot by two-foot trench at the roots of the tree.