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Plants / Kelp
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Water Security
Death / Die-off / Decline
Deformity / Disease / Injury
Drought

Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada


Salal bushes observed to be very dry and dying in British Columbia.


Lindsay Brown wrote:

I've never seen salal look like this in my lifetime. I've seen it look a little dry here and there, but never crumbling, dry brown leaves. This die-off is unique in my experience. Note [in the photos] that the bushes aren't fully dead but seem to be dying from the top down. I saw this in relatively deep woods on Burnaby Mountain (in the Burnaby suburb of Vancouver) but it's also being reported on Haida Gwaii, all through the mountains and up and down the coast.

The following is an excerpt from a post by Nancy Turner, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UVic Environmental Studies:

Over the past few years, I have noticed that salal plants in various parts of the coast have been dying back. However, I have never seen it as bad as it is this spring (2019). Not only are the salal branches and individual plants turning brown and dying, very suddenly, but in some cases, entire patches of salal are perishing. A number of friends who have worked along the BC Coast have sent observations and photographs of this salal die-off, and I have seen it myself in several places. Even some of the salal growing in the gardens at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver have died, despite the obvious care the plants are receiving. I am aware of various theories about why the salal is dying. It could be a fungus disease epidemic; certainly salal is susceptible to some types of fungus. I suspect that climate change – warmer and drier winters without much snow, and hot, dry summers – has had a strong impact on the salal.

See Nancy Turner's related post for additional information.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon) with many brown leaves on Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby, BC.
Photo by Lindsay Brown, 28 April 2019
Salal (Gaultheria shallon) with many brown leaves on Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby, BC.
Photo by Lindsay Brown, 28 April 2019