***2,000 Signatures for the petition, “Ask California State Parks to Test Torrey Pine Trees for Aluminum Poisoning” were sent to California State Parks on April 25, 2019. Below is a copy of the transmittal letter, and links to the petition summary and picture.***
To Darren Smith, Natural Resource Program Manager, San Diego Coast District, California State Parks
Here are 2,000 signatures/supporters for the petition, “Ask California State Parks to Test Torrey Pine Trees for Aluminum Poisoning”, attached. I am sending these signatures to you because Robin Greene, District Superintendent, San Diego Coast District, California State Parks, told me in this letter of July 2016, to go through you.
The first thing that should be done is figure out what the fungal damage shown in this attachment is. It’s prominent in and near the golf course, and to a lesser extent throughout the Reserve. In April, 2018, I took samples of it on 5 separate occasions to the San Diego County Plant Pathology Lab for analysis. They couldn’t figure out what it was. These are their analyses, samples 1-5. Then on November 14, 2018, I presented it to the San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board. They didn’t know what it was and didn’t want it looked into. This is that presentation. Note that San Diego Botanical Gardens think their Torrey Pine trees are being damaged by blue stain fungal pathogens (while I think the damage at the Reserve and golf course looks like pitch canker disease.) City Councilmember Barbara Bry ignores this issue. The reason for wanting to identify it, is that it’s probably working in a symbiotic community with beetles to kill the trees.
Second, test and investigate aluminum levels and damage. Soluble aluminum can be absorbed into trees and turn their roots brittle. This is the analysis of a sample of condensed fog I collected by shaking tree branches in the Reserve after a fog, which shows extremely high aluminum content (130 times higher than drinking water standards allow). And these analyses show more aluminum than should be expected in rainwater, tree bark and tree roots. This paper went through an extensive peer review process and concluded aluminum contamination and increasing UV radiation are primary drivers of the die-off. It states that aluminum (and other contaminants) from the sky settle on pine needles along with acid fog. The water portion of the fog then evaporates leaving the contaminants more concentrated. After several cycles, the contaminants can become very concentrated and create an environment attractive to fungus and beetles.
And third, it should be made known to the public that the original diagnosis of drought and beetles was based only on observation of beetles, and no “blood test” of the trees was ever taken to determine what might be the cause of the beetle infestation. Now that test results, a peer reviewed paper, and photos have been provided, much more can be understood about the underlying causes. An example of how the public could be informed might be to add this sentence to the beetle trap displays, “These beetles are made possible to be here, in part, because of high aluminum levels in and on our trees.”
Attached is a picture of the petition signatures in front of a few of our dead Torrey Pine trees. These supporters are the real champions of our environment. We hope to eventually convince authorities to do the right thing and allow a lab test for our sick and ignored trees.
copies: see list here
Purpose of this Web Page
Torrey Pine Trees at Torrey Pines Reserve, Torrey Pines Golf Course and the general vicinity have been dying off at an alarming rate since about 2014. Although the official story is that drought and beetles are killing them, there has never been an analysis of the trees to confirm it. The purpose of this web page is to encourage authorities to conduct a legitimate analysis of the trees.
Why They Need to be Analyzed
We are told the die-off is caused by drought and beetles, but trees that were being watered on Torrey Pines Golf Course also died (picture 1 below). Those trees weren’t in a drought and didn’t have many beetles. And there is obvious fungal damage, unacknowledged by authorities, that is killing trees and probably attracting bark beetles. Picture #2 shows bark beetle damage while pictures #3, 4 and 5 show fungal damage. A sampling of the condensed fog that drips off tree needles measured an extremely high level of aluminum (picture #6), a metal toxic to pine trees, here. And a published peer reviewed paper with agreement from scientists worldwide, here, concluded UV radiation and aluminum poisoning weaken Torrey Pine trees and create conditions that attract fungus and beetles.
Presentation to San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board, 11/14/2018
- This presentation was recommended by the staff of S.D. Councilmember Barbara Bry. I showed the CFAB the unacknowledged fungal damage that is probably working in a symbiotic relation with beetles to kill the trees and asked them to investigate. And then I sent a follow-up email, with copies to “everybody”.
New Published Peer-Reviewed Research Paper
- Previously Unrecognized Primary Factors in the Demise of Endangered Torrey Pines: A Microcosm of Global Forest Die-Offs. Herndon, Whiteside, and Williams, August 2018 (This paper has gone through an extensive peer review process and has gained approval of scientists worldwide. It concludes that increasing UV radiation and aluminum poisoning from covert geoengineering underlie the demise of Torrey Pines and global forest die-offs.)
- Condensed fog analysis, 3/2018
- Needles pre-fog and post fog analyses, 10/2017 and 5/2018
- Combined needle and fog analyses
- Rainwater analysis, 5/24/2017
- Tree bark analysis, 4/9/2016
- pH readings, 2/2017
- Beetle trap picture and beetle picture
New Short Videos with Music, put your earbuds on and enjoy
- Top 10 Reasons why we can’t give Torrey Pine Trees a Lab Test
- Top 10 Reasons why we should give Torrey Pine Trees a Lab Test
- Coast News Article, 1/11/2019, see page 4
- Signature gathering for petition, Jan-Apr, 2019
- emails to local community officials, mostly fall 2018: Barbara Bry, Mayor Faulconer, Chief of Police Nisleit, Del Mar City Council, Encinitas City Council, La Jolla Town Council, Solana Beach City Council, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Carl DeMaio,
- Emails to environmental professionals, fall 2018: Ed Drobnicki, City Horticulturalist covering Torrey Pines Golf Course; Doug Gibson, Executive Director and Principal Scientist, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy; Jill Hamilton, consultant from North Dakota State University; California Native Plant Society; Richard Hillary, Soil Ecology and Restoration Group, SDSU; Kimberly Prather, Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, UCSD, Scripps Institute of Oceanography; Jeannie Gregory, Balboa Park Botanist; Tony Gurnoe, Horticultural Director, San Diego Botanic Garden; San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research; UCSD Biology Professors
- San Diego Union Tribune Letter to the Editor (edited version printed 9/4/18)
- The Liberty Beacon article, 9/2018
Communication with California State Parks (they won’t analyze the trees)
- 8/25/2015: my first email to State Parks, to the Supervising Ranger
- 6/1/2016: my post to Torrey Pines Docent Google Groups titled, “Might aluminum be hurting our trees?”
- 7/13/2016: my letter to State Parks Director
- 7/20/2016: incoming from Docent President saying go through Sup. Ranger
- 7/20/2016: my email to Sup Ranger. Ignored by Sup Ranger.
- 7/27/2016: incoming from State Parks saying go through Natural Resource Program Manager
- 7/27/2016: incoming transmittal email for above letter
- 8/8/2016: my email to State Parks Natural Resource Program Manager
- 8/19/2016: phone conversation with State Parks Natural Resource Program Manager responding to my 8/8/16 email. Good discussion.
- 11/4/2016: emails to and from State Parks Natural Resource Program Manager regarding soil stress test
- 8/1/2017: posted video on youtube “Torrey Pine Trees, Aluminum and Acid Fog“
- 8/1/2017: my email to State Parks informing them of the above video
- 9/5/2017: petition started, “Ask California State Parks to Test Torrey Pine Trees for Aluminum Poisoning“
- 9/6/2017: my email to State Parks and 30 docents informing them of the petition
- 9/7/2017: email from State Parks asking me to remove the petition and my response
San Diego County Plant Pathology Lab analyses.
In April 2018, I took them samples of diseased trees on 5 separate occasions. They couldn’t figure out what is causing the damage that looks like pitch canker disease. Here are their analyses:
Links to articles, studies and web pages regarding aluminum poisoning, pitch canker disease, the symbiotic relationship of fungus and beetles and UV radiation damage
- U.C. Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Pitch Canker
- Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Pitch Canker Task Force, Signs and Symptoms
- EPA Report, “Ecological Soil Screening Level for Aluminum“
- “Environmental Effects of Aluminum” Study by Sparling and Lowe
- The sudden emergence of pathogenicity in insect-fungus symbioses threatens naive forest ecosystems, Hulcr & Dunn
- Bark Beetles, fungus and host interactions involved in the death of pines in Callifornia, Wood, David L., Western Forest Insect Work Conference
- Pitch canker caused by Fusarium circinatum – a growing threat to pine plantations and forests worldwide, Wingfield, Hammerbacher, Ganley, etc.
- Volatile organic compounds emitted by fungal associates of conifer bark beetles and their potential in bark beetle control, Kandasamy, Gershenzon, Hammerbacher
- Changes in metal mobility associated with bark beetle induced tree mortality, Mikkelson, KM, et al. (at torrey pines, metal mobility means acid fog putting aluminum into a form that can be absorbed into the tree)
- Ultraviolet radiation stress: molecular and physiological adaptations in trees, Singh S, Kumar P, et al.
- Fungi and insects associated with Euphorbia ingens die off in South Africa, Van der Linde, Six, Wingfield, Roux (primary cause of die-off is environmental stress that supports the ability of beetles and pathogens to establish)
- UV Radiation Index, (scroll down to California)
- Torrey Pine Demise , Whiteside, M., unpublished study paper in preparation for writing “Unrecognized Primary Factors in the Demise of Endangered Torrey Pines” (good)
- Science Fair Winner 2017, Torrey Pine needles attract moisture, pg 1, pg 2, pg 3
Consultant Efforts on Genetic Rescue
- Jill Hamilton web page, Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University
- Sierra Club Article, “Iconic and Almost Extinct.” 9/2017
- Jill Hamilton study, “Genetic Conservation and Management of the California Endemic, Torrey Pine” North Dakota State University, 8/2017
- Stephanie Steele web page, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
- TED talk on genetic rescue, good description of genetic rescue
- My concern about genetic rescue at Torrey Pines: It’s an advanced solution being pursued without first knowing the basics a lab test would provide. I fear it’s a predetermined solution and may lead to Monsanto assuming ownership of our trees. My understanding is that Monsanto will own trees that use their stress tolerance patent. We will then need to change our entrance sign to something like this.