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Does Aging Mission Manzanita Lack a Bear Necessity for Survival?

from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Under a warming sun, biologist Rick Halsey climbs a hillside once blanketed by mission manzanita. Until the Witch fire last year, this stand of manzanita was possibly the oldest of its type in the county, a century or more in age.

But flames, leaping across Interstate 15 just north of Lake Hodges at the Via Rancho Parkway exit, reduced the tall, thick canopy of dark-green foliage to ash, leaving behind only a skeletal army of blackened trunks and branches.

... Fire, though, is not what worries Halsey, who directs the California Chaparral Institute in Escondido. Not today. He has come to this stand of mission manzanita - one of four mature patches he's studying - to look for something he has never seen: a seedling in the wild. Mission manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor) is one of approximately 50 species of manzanita, a major component of chaparral ...

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