San Francisco Fells More Trees – Treasure Island

DSCN0052 - the beautiful trees of Treasure Island San Francisco - soon to be gone 2016

People have started writing to us about hundreds, perhaps thousands, of trees being clear-cut on Treasure Island – beautiful, healthy trees being destroyed. It’s happening right now.

One person wrote: “Over on the area where officers quarters are, there appears to be clear cutting is there any thing that can be done to save the ones left?

Then he sent us these pictures with the note: “Thanks for your attention to these matters. I am just a beer drinking football watching person, but perhaps I am more naive than I thought, because what I saw as represented by these images … was disturbing to a city person like myself.

DSCN0008 trees felled and dumped -Treasure Island san francisco 2016


DSCN0021 stumps and piles of mulch are all thats left - treasure island san francisco 2016

“These trees appear to have been just killed and then ground down to saw dust with no thought of conservation, reuse or anything, unconscionable,” he added.  I doubt the proud city of San Fran will ever mitigate the amount of trees they are killing today.”

huge old trees cut down on treasure island san francisco 2016Another person wrote:

“[On Treasure Island] I drove past several spots on the island where eucalyptus have been completely clear cut. I was driving so I couldn’t really get a good estimate, but it looks like many hundreds. Many of the trees were VERY large and healthy looking. They are already being chipped and/or logged…

“The work of the nativists? Looks like it to me. Otherwise why remove entire stands of healthy trees?

“I, for one, am sick and tired of this disgusting, unsupportable destruction that has no scientific or practical basis. These actions go beyond normal landscaping or aesthetic decisions. The city will suffer the effects of these actions for decades to come.

“Frankly, I’m also disappointed that the main opposition relies so heavily  on scientifically unsupportable counter-arguments. It makes it very hard to find effective ways to combat the destructive philosophy that has taken over Parks and Rec.”

DSCN0020 stumps and piles of mulch are all thats left - treasure island san francisco 2016

The huge eucalyptus trees of Treasure Island are among the sites where Monarch butterflies have been known to overwinter. Eucalyptus trees are great at sequestering carbon because of their dense wood, their fast growth, their huge size, and their long lives… if they’re not cut down like these trees here.

  • How many tons of sequestered carbon are now being released?
  • How much monarch butterfly over-wintering habitat has been destroyed?
  • How much tree cover for birds and animals has been removed?

How can San Francisco call itself a green city with this tree canopy shrinkage going on in these times of global warming?

monarch butterfly in a San Francisco eucalyptus tree - copyright Janet Kessler

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10 Responses to San Francisco Fells More Trees – Treasure Island

  1. This is absolutely insane!! Are the inmates in charge of the asylum?

  2. milliontrees says:

    This clear-cut of Yerba Buena Island has been in the works for over a decade. It was one of Ruth Gravanis’s top priorities. [SFForest: Ms Gravanis is a native plant advocate and a former member of the SF Commission for the Environment.]

    It will be interesting to see the consequences of such tree removals on an island with steep sides to the ocean. Will the land erode into the ocean when the roots die in a few years?

    Projects like these are happening all over California. In each case, those who demand these projects claim that there are no consequences because the projects are so small. They fail to see the cumulative effect of destroying so many trees. Where will the raptors nest? Where will the hummingbirds get nectar during the winter months when nothing else is blooming? Where will the monarch butterflies spend the winter months? How much more pollution will the Bay Area experience? How much carbon will be released into the atmosphere? These are some of the questions that we ask and no one will answer.

  3. Why in hell are they cutting down these trees. Has anyone ever heard of an explanation for this. It is totally insane.

    [SFForest: There’s a massive redevelopment plan for Treasure Island. It appears no one cares about preserving these trees except the public.]

  4. toni says:

    I have been proud to be a native San Franciscan for over 70 years – until recently, when all the trees started disappearing. This City will be much poorer and less livable when all the trees are gone, and with them the wildlife and clean air.
    My daughter had planned to move back here because she loved growing up here, across from Glen Park canyon. I told her to plan to stay where she is – all we can see from our house now is a playground, tennis courts, streets, cars, houses, lights, and black soot on the window sills. We used to see, hear, and smell the trees, lots of trees. We loved them. No more – most are gone.

  5. Christine holmes says:

    This is just another instance of humans thinking they should control nature. Maybe the eucalyptus trees were non-native, but they are loved and have managed to provide a lovely canopy and some habitat. Unless they are being replaced with a super valuable species such as Coast Live Oak, it is a mistake to destroy a living thing that provides such loveliness in the built environment.

    [SFForest: Coast live oak doesn’t grow in most of the windy places where eucalyptus is able to flourish. As far as Treasure Island is concerned, we don’t think there’s any plan to replace them at all.]

  6. Why is there such a movement on to denude the hills around and in San Francisco. It is sick and what is going to hold the soil? Do we never learn a damned thing.

  7. What in hell is going on. Cutting down all of these trees for what purpose? It is disgusting and needs to be stopped now.

  8. To replace these eucalyptus trees with coast live oaks would probably take two life times to grow. And why cut these trees down with it looks like no plan for the future?

  9. Pingback: Can We Save These San Francisco Trees? | San Francisco Forest Alliance

  10. Pingback: Three Myths About the Monarch Butterfly | San Francisco Forest Alliance

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