catman306 here: having problems with addressing;
The trees have been weakened and now opportunistic infections of various types have moved in. I can show you trees with the exact and similar conditions in my yard and back in the woods here in NE Georgia. There's a 200 year old white oak 20 feet from where I sit that is loosing its bark exactly as you have photographed in NJ. Everywhere the under-story of the woods is thinning to transparency where just 5 years ago it was thicket and 30 years ago was 'jungle'.
Our species evolved in the forests. When the climate and tree cutters no longer allow forests, we humans will have no longer have a friendly climate and habitat and the Earth won't support many of us.
A forest is much more than a collection of trees. It is an eco-system. It's the eco-system that maintains our environment. Dying trees are only a symptom of a failing eco-system.
Here's 40 year old music that said it all and still does:
Nature's Way - Spirit
There's plenty of music and essays from the 60s that make it clear that awareness of environmental degradation is not new. Some of us knew but couldn't do enough to prevent this disaster.
Thank you for your comment and the song, Catman306!
Recommended reading this morning, a post at climateprogress with words of wisdom from Dr. George Woodwell, founder of Wood's Hole Research Center, who eloquently urges scientists to take on the deniers and speak the truth directly to the people. Included is his prescient testimony to the Senate from 1988, warning that the forests will die. More generally, he says:
"The fact is that we, humans, have changed the composition of the atmosphere with respect to heat-trapping gases enough to start the progression of global climate, not into a new steady state, but into an open-ended warming that is pulling the environment out from under this civilization."