The fourth in our series of responses to UCSF’s July 9th letter.
According to the letter, “The forest is not a “Cloud Forest” (these are native forests found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world), but Mount Sutro does experience fog drip. Fog drip encourages the growth of undesirable highly flammable understorey (the area of a forest which grows in the shade of the forest canopy).”
So it’s not a Cloud Forest because it’s not in a tropical or subtropical area?
Well, no. It’s a Temperate Cloud Forest.
The forest gets 8-12 inches of moisture from fog precipitation annually. This compares with San Francisco’s average annual rainfall of 21.5 inches. So the the forest gets around a third of its moisture during the summer months, from fog.
This means that the forest should be managed as a Cloud Forest. The first thing is not opening it up and drying it out.
As for “encouraging the growth of undesirable highly flammable understorey” – it may be undesirable to the writer of the letter, but to a lot of wildlife, it’s home.
It’s also a lot less flammable than the grasses and seasonal wildflowers they plan to plant there instead. Those dry out completely in summer. These bushes stay green all year and hold in the moisture that the trees capture.
And if scientists at San Jose State and UC Santa Barbara are right, (as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle) global warming may bring us even more fog.