Someone brought over the November/ December 09 copy of the Sierra Club Magazine. It fell open to the centerfold. There in a big blue box and large letters it said:
“It’s cool because people are cutting down trees instead of spending Saturday playing videogames.”
In that case, just like the trees in Sutro Cloud Forest, the trees so gleefully being felled were non-natives.
There’s always a good reason to cut down trees.
– They’re non-native…
– They’re in the way and the land is more valuable without them…
– They can be sold for lumber…
– They block the view…
It’s tough to argue that other people should preserve their trees when what we’re doing with ours is chopping them down. Fell Sutro Cloud Forest, save the Brazilian cloud forests. Kill the century-old eucalyptus trees, save the century-old pines. But ideology aside, non-native trees are beneficial just like the ones that are native elsewhere.
Urban trees, native or not, have multiple benefits:
– They clean the air;
– They sequester carbon (1 acre=30 cars);
– They act as windbreaks;
– They muffle sound;
– They screen ugly buildings.
On Mount Sutro, the density of the forest creates an oasis that feels as though you’re completely outside the city. As long, of course, as we preserve that density.
Here in San Francisco, the Department of the Environment and Friends of the Urban Forest is offering residents the option of buying Christmas trees that can later be planted as urban trees. They note that the city could use another 100,000 trees, and only 12% of San Francisco is covered in greenery, compared to over 20% for Chicago, Seattle and New York. They’re offering magnolia, the Australian small-leaf Tristania; strawberry tree; and the New Zealand Christmas Tree. (The magnolia and the strawberry tree don’t like wind. The Australian and NZ trees are okay with it.)