The Michigan of my youth was filled with birch trees and, as a kid, I loved to take the bark and try to make things from it. (we played Indians)
The last several trips here, spanning perhaps the last decade, has seen a serious decline and now, they are almost gone. It is rare to see a healthy birch where once there were huge stands.
Why? That is what is so disconcerting. My internet searches have uncovered no alarms sounded, no anguished cries from tree lovers, nothing specific at all about birch tree decline in The Great Lakes State. No arborists with with advice, no woody obits; as though no one has noticed.