The Wall Street Journal recently reported on how the Southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona are recovering from a devastating plague that has killed off hundreds of thousands of piÃ±on pine trees between 2001 and 2005. The plague, caused by a tiny critter called the piÃ±on ips, was exacerbated by a massive drought, one of the worst of this century. The story (registration required to read it!) is hopeful and talks about how residents are looking on the bright side and moving forward after this small-scale (large scale in some respects) environmental disaster.
Residents have since moved on to dealing with the carcasses, and they’re coming up with creative solutions. Santa Fe recycling director Justin Stockdale used a chain saw to carve two of his dead piÃ±ons to look like cactuses. Filmmaker Jerry Wellman wrote and self-published a 110-page book entitled “What to Do With a Dead PiÃ±on.” Among his suggestions: “Slip empty bottles on the ends of the tree limb. Limbs now attractively reflect the sun or moon.”
At the Zuni Pueblo in northern New Mexico, elders have fed dead piÃ±ons into their BioMax 15 — a biomass generator they acquired to help power a tribal furniture factory. PiÃ±ons are also being fed into biomass generators for a school in northern New Mexico and a hospital in the southern part of the state. And they are becoming compost along highways.
Hereâ€™s to looking on the bright side of life! When life gives you dead piÃ±ons, make biomass!