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Climate change is visible now

June 29, 2008

Re "The trail is his destination," Column One, and "State's flora at risk from climate change, study says," June 25

Like Billy Goat, I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail right now. I read the paper when I go into town to resupply.

I do not see the effects of global climate change as a possibility for some future time. Every day as I walk the trail, I can see that climate change is already here.

I cannot remember more than a single day in the first 700 miles of the trail that I did not walk through a burn zone. I never saw evidence that the burned trees were regenerating, even in a burn zone that was 8 years old. The regrowth I've seen in burn zones has mostly been of drier, scrubbier plants. The only regrowth I have seen of trees has been in the High Sierra.

Now I have learned that there are almost 900 fires burning right now. The loss of California's unique plants will not happen gradually in the future. It is happening right now, and happens suddenly, whenever a fire burns.

Diane Soini

Santa Barbara

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