Invasive insects, fungus, and old age are killing off Los Angeles' iconic palm trees—and despite their fame. the city isn't planning on replacing many of them. As the city's estimated 75,000 palm trees die off, the city plans to replace them with species that consume less water and will help the city's people deal with the warming climate, the Guardian reports. "Palms are decorative and iconic, but Los Angeles is facing more and more heatwaves, so it’s important that we plant trees that provide adequate shade to protect people and cool the city down," says Elizabeth Skrzat of the city's tree-planting department.
"Over the next 50 years, you will see a great loss in palms. It's already begun," Jared Farmer, author of Trees in Paradise, tells the Los Angeles Times. He says in the late early 20th century, the city imported palm species from all over the world, and they soon became the symbol of the expanding city. "Hollywood creates this connection between palm trees, celebrities, glamour, sex, and extravagant riches," he says. Environmentalists say the Los Angeles die-off is part of a wider crisis that is causing millions of trees to die across southern California as the state becomes hotter and drier, conditions in which bugs that destroy vegetation thrive.