Los Angeles Goes Native — On Tree Planting

Like the actors smoking in a vintage Hollywood production, Los Angeles' Canary Island Palm trees remain iconic while they fade from view, in part from age, and in part from man-induced vulnerability. Just as the once-iconic image of characters smoking put actor health at risk, a fungal disease is now felling many of Hollywood's Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) in an outbreak that is the typical result of monoculture. Plant large numbers of trees of a single variety, a plant disease inevitably adapts to the new niche: an ecological imperative perfectly illustrated by the American Elm. Because this disease is not treatable, the City of Los Angeles' response , quite logically, is to replant "oaks, sycamores and other native species [from a list of nearly 60 varieties] that are more suited to the environment." Just what you'd expect of Hollywood 'tree huggers'. We're wondering though, what happens to all the dead Palms? Palms are not really trees, but perhaps there's enough cellulose in the stems that the debris could be put to use making electricity. Photo credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP via MSNBC.