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There are several thousand Scotch Pines on our mountain. Almost all of them are dying, infected by the pine wilt nematode (bursaphelenchus xylophilus). It sucks the life out of them in weeks. The needles turn brown, the bark falls off and that’s it. There is no cure. The disease is thought to have originated in North America, and spread to Asia via Japan. The local forestry department chief told me it came to Moganshan from Anji, the next county over, where someone imported untreated timber. I’ve seen the hillsides around Anji and they look like a first world war battlefield…

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