SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Scientists say New Mexico's official state tree is threatened by the region's warming and drying climate.
State scientists and local botanists say signs point to pinon trees across northern New Mexico and other areas of the state being under increasing strain this year.
The pinon is known for its nuts and its distinctive smell when used as firewood. Scientists say the changing climate can leave the tree vulnerable to bug infestation, and it isn't clear yet how severe the problem could become.
Scott Canning, director of horticulture for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, says pine needle scale was widespread in the city last year and is even more prominent this year. He says the disease attacks trees that are weakened by the weather.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com