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Drought leads to mass cutting of trees in Los Angeles

As a result of California\'s historic drought, thousands of trees that dot the parks and line the streets of urban Los Angeles are in the process of being cut down
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July 7, 2015

Los Angeles city officials say they don't have enough water to irrigate all the trees in the city, so they are cutting down those that are dead or dying from drought.

According to the city, roughly 14,000 trees have died in the last year alone from drought.

The North Hollywood Park had some of its trees removed just before the 4th of July holiday weekend. Some, like Kirsten Fisher, an assistant professor of biology at California State University in Los Angeles, question the move.

“So if we take out trees and don't replace them, it has, like I said, it has heat island effect. Right? But it also reduces habitat for wild animals, so birds that are migrating through or other animals that rely on trees for shelter and food will not have those trees anymore,” said Fisher. “So of course, they will be eliminated.”

The city says given the historic drought, it's doing a balancing act between saving the trees and enforcing people's safety at North Hollywood Park.

The U.S. Forest Service has been closely tracking tree deaths since the start of the drought, now in its fourth year.

California's drought led to the deaths of 12.5 million trees in the state's forests last year. Los Angeles officials say they plan to replant more trees when the weather improves.

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