There’s a lot of activity at the Juanita entrance of Mt Davidson, and neighbors fear the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD) is rushing through its tree-felling program. At a time when we need trees more than ever to fight climate change, and mudslides in Southern California illustrate the devastating effects of destroyed trees and vegetation, this would be egregious.
Here’s a note from a forest-lover:
“What I’ve seen so far as of last week is preparation and road, trail widening with landing areas for equipment, but no big cuttings or equipment in the interior yet. Just the one big landmark, living tree marked with dots, and all the prior destruction.”
TRAILS BEING WIDENED FOR HEAVY EQUIPMENT?
TREES DESTROYED EARLIER
Tree have been destroyed on Mount Davidson some years ago, and this prior destruction gives some idea of what the desired end-condition is for the next round. The so-called “boneyard” has stumps of dead trees.
This tall mature tree was “girdled.” That’s a process of destroying cutting a deep ring around the tree, so that food and water cannot be transported and the tree starves to death.
A beautiful green and flourishing tree that provided food and habitat for birds, and brought joy to forest lovers, is a dead skeleton.
THE BEAUTIFUL FOREST WE ARE LOSING
The lovely forest we are losing is beautiful and historic, and provides habitat for a huge number of birds. But it’s not just beauty and habitat. These trees provide important eco-system services. Some examples:
- They stabilize the mountain, with their intergrafted roots forming a living geo-textile. The horrible mudslides in Southern California illustrate how important this is.
- They fight pollution, especially pollution from particulate matter, by trapping the particles on their leaves until rain or fog drips them to the forest floor where they are not in the atmosphere – or our lungs.
- They form a wind-break in what would be one of the windiest areas of the city, with the wind blowing in straight off the sea.
- They regulate water flows, so that when it rains hard, the forest acts as a sponge, absorbing the water and letting it flow out gradually.
- They catch moisture from the fog during summer, making the mountain damp and reducing fire hazard.
Please let City Hall and SFRPD know that you want this forest protected and saved, not gutted. The plan is to remove 1600 trees!
[Update 1/19/18: We spoke with the contractor on site. Seven trees have been cut down, and that completes this contract. Hopefully we will have more public notice and explanation if other tree removals are planned.]