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The overgrown gravesite in Havaco, W.Va., where more than 80 West Virginia coal miners are buried in unmarked graves, is seen on June 7, 2022. The miners – most of them European immigrants – were killed in an explosion at the now-shuttered Jed Coal and Coke Company mine in 1912. Ferns, mayapple plants and fallen trees have almost completely erased any sign of the burial site. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

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Up to 2.4 million trees would be cut down as part of a project to prevent major wildfires in a federally protected New Jersey forest heralded as a unique environmental treasure. New Jersey environmental officials say the plan to thin trees in the Bass River State Forest will better protect against catastrophic wildfires. They say it will mostly affect small, scrawny trees, not the towering giants for which the Pinelands National Refuge is known and loved. Some environmentalists say it's a reasonable response to the dangers of wildfires. Others call it a waste of trees that imperils the globe in an era of climate change.

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A plan to cut 2.4 million trees from a section of Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township N.J., is aimed mainly at small, narrow trees, but also would include tall, matures trees like those shown on either side of a dirt road in this Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 photo. The plan is designed to remove fuel that could make wildfires worse, but environmentalists are split over the plan, with some calling it a tragic loss of trees that would otherwise store carbon in an era of climate change. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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Bill Zipse, a supervising forester with the New Jersey Forest Service, holds a pine cone in a section of Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township, N.J. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. A recently approved plan will cut 2.4 million trees from the forest, most of them small, narrow trees, designed to remove fuel that could make wildfires worse. But environmentalists are split over the plan, with some calling it a tragic loss of trees that would otherwise store carbon in an era of climate change. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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A few large pine trees are surrounded by smaller ones in a section of Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township, N.J. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. A recently approved plan will cut 2.4 million trees from the forest, most of them small, narrow trees, designed to remove fuel that could make wildfires worse. But environmentalists are split over the plan, with some calling it a tragic loss of trees that would otherwise store carbon in an era of climate change. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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Bill Zipse, a supervising forester with the New Jersey Forest Service, touches a small pine tree in a section of Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township, N.J. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. A recently approved plan will cut 2.4 million trees from the forest, most of them small, narrow trees, designed to remove fuel that could make wildfires worse. But environmentalists are split over the plan, with some calling it a tragic loss of trees that would otherwise store carbon in an era of climate change. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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New Jersey Forest Service Chief Todd Wyckoff stands amid small pine trees growing near larger ones in a section of Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township, N.J. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. A recently approved plan will cut 2.4 million trees from the forest, most of them small, narrow trees, designed to remove fuel that could make wildfires worse. But environmentalists are split over the plan, with some calling it a tragic loss of trees that would otherwise store carbon in an era of climate change. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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Marijuana plants for the adult recreational market are are seen in a greenhouse at Hepworth Farms in Milton, N.Y., July 15, 2022. New York has issued the first 36 cannabis dispensary licenses on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022 taking a monumental step in establishing a legal  — and lucrative — marketplace for recreational marijuana. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Lisa Ciecko, a Seattle Parks and Recreation plant ecologist, looks at a tree on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Seattle. Cities across the world have promised to plant more carbon-absorbing trees to help fight climate change. Research has shown the shade of mature trees also helps reduce unhealthful “heat islands,” especially in poor neighborhoods.(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

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Washington Park Arboretum arborist Shea Cope, uses a website to look up knobcone pine, one of many stressed trees in the arboretum, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Seattle. Increasingly, the challenge for city arborists is to keep old and new trees alive, and it's incurring a bigger hit on municipal budgets. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)