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Source: SapphirePine

Furniture Company Revives California Trees Killed By Drought

By Tessa Love

For six years, drought ravaged the California landscape. When rain finally hit the state last winter, over 100 million trees had already dried out and died across the 7.7 million acres of forestland, according to the U.S. Forest Service, leaving them vulnerable to mountain beetles invasions, which burrow into the bark, lay eggs, and eat their way through the bark. While this blocks the circulation of water and nutrients around the tree, the beetle's larvae also leave a fungus that creates streaks of orange, green and blue wood across the light-colored pine, rendering them unusable by "furniture purists."

So in 2015, when California Governor Jerry Brown called a state of emergency due to the drought and a task force was put in place to rip out the fire-hazardous dead trees, it seemed they were destined to be used for biofuel for energy or sold to China. But that's when Sandra Lupien and Sam Schabacker, students at U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, had a lightbulb idea: Forget the purists. Why not turn the trees into furniture?