The paper from the primary scientific literature that I will discuss in this diary is from the journal Tree Physiology and has the (long winded) title "Mistletoe effects on Scots pine decline following drought events: insights from within-tree spatial patterns, growth and carbohydrates."
A link to the paper, if you can get access to it, is here: Tree Physiol (2012) 32 (5): 585-598.
Mistletoe, long a subject of Christmas mythology related fun and games, is a parasite.
Um, um, um...
Here in New Jersey it was reported that power companies and road opening crews needed to chainsaw something on the order of 120,000 trees. A crude estimate of mine based on traveling around here is that for every downed tree that required cutting to restore infrastructure, between 10 and 20 could be seen off road that simply were destroyed in forests and yards not involved in infrastructure. This suggests, if I'm right, that in New Jersey alone, something like one to two million trees - many of them, maybe most of them, magnificent, ancient trees.
I have been monitoring, privately, the destruction of New Jersey's arboreal flora for several years, well before Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, mostly connected with the extreme temperatures and drought. I even wrote about it here, back when I was writing a lot of diaries: Nitrogen, Climate Change, Drought, and Tree Physiology..
Also back when I was writing a lot of diaries, I used to write amusing tongue in cheek Christmas diaries like this one: Ice Sheet Collapses at North Pole. Portions of Santa's Village Destroyed, Reindeer Missing.
This diary is, for old time's sake, my (very brief) Christmas diary. It's not amusing.