Knowing that a mature pinyon-juniper forest does not have as much diversity as immature forests, I have a certain amount of thankfulness for losing a few to the drought and Pine Bark Beetles. Only a few, please.
I can now plant new openings with fruiting natives like wild cherry, wild plum, bearberry, Oregon grape, blackberry, wild rose, flowers and so on. The new pinyon seedlings are up, but for the next 30 years they can hide under the trees and shrubs that will grow up then die back just in time for the pinyons to mature and produce pine nuts. The dead roots from the trees will become nutritious pathways for pinyon roots.
I am glad I haven’t lost all my pinyons, and a few moist years helps my new trees and bushes get started and produce. Rain is sprouting the generation of food that will carry wildlife through to the next drought.
The Anasazi had a sixty year drought and could not maintain their population without water. They had excellent water storage systems but 60 years was beyond their (or our) capabilities. We now pipe our water long distances to our cities. Farming gets piped water as well, but it would be best if we grow more drought tolerant foods.
No one knows what happened to the Anasazi. My guess is that every year they dribbled out and found other tribes to join. They did not maintain their tribal identity. Like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl refugees, they likely moved on and became part of other groups.
Sometimes moving on is all there is left to do. Wisest to create something new for yourself and those around you.
I hope that this Food Forest created in the wake of Pinyon death will make a rich circular economy welcoming to all who live here. No tears over lost pinyon trees.