In view of discussions of biodiversity and mosaics in ecosystems, we are republishing a post from May 2010 that addresses this issue. Mount Sutro Cloud Forest is part of a mosaic of biodiversity in the Western part of San Francisco. We’ve updated the pesticide use information.
We’d like to put Mt Sutro Cloud Forest in the context of the bio-diversity in the Western part of San Francisco.
This is an 80-acre forest (including both the UCSF portion and the Interior Green Belt). That’s fairly large for a garden or a park. But in fact, it’s only one small habitat among many in the western part of the city.
The Westside habitat is quite varied: It has grasslands and meadows, chaparral and open woodlands, lakes and creeks – and dense forest. In particular, Sutro Cloud Forest. It’s this biodiversity that supports a range of plant and animal (including insect) life. (Unfortunately, much of it is subject to toxic herbicides, but Sutro Forest has been clear of the chemicals since 2008, and the Aldea Student Housing from 2009. Thanks, UCSF!)
This is a rough map (based on a 2005 USGS picture) of some of the major habitat areas of this part of the city.
1. Sutro Cloud Forest – a relatively dense eucalyptus forest, with a well-developed understory and year-round damp conditions. (Free of pesticides since 2008.)
2. Laguna Honda lake – Mature chaparral and shrubs, fairly dry, sloping down to a year-round lake with little human access. (Occasional pesticide use.)
3. Twin Peaks – native and non-natives grasses, forbs, and shrubs. (Garlon, Roundup, imazapyr. Multiple times.)
4. Mt Davidson – eucalyptus woods, open shrubland. (Garlon, Roundup, imazapyr. Multiple times.)
5. Glen Canyon – open shrubland and grassland, wooded creek, sparse eucalyptus. (Garlon, Roundup, imazapyr. Multiple times.)
6. Buena Vista Park – grass, shrubs, open stands of trees. (Some pesticide use)
7. Golden Gate Park – multiple habitats including open grassland, lakes and ponds, stands of trees, shrubbery. (Herbicides used, mainly Roundup.)
8. Stern Grove – open eucalyptus and redwood groves, meadows, water. (Herbicides used.)
This list does not include the beach, Lake Merced, the open woods and grassland on the grounds of the Laguna Honda Hospital. It excludes all the backyard habitats (mostly lawn, shrubs and flowers, with varying levels of pesticide use) and street trees.
But none of them are old-growth cloud forests like Mt Sutro Forest.
Some creatures – like migrating birds and butterflies – can access all these areas (which fall into the radius of a few square miles) and choose territories or terrain that suits their needs. Others – including some reptiles and flightless insects – may live and breed in a restricted but suitable place. Sutro Cloud Forest adds to the biodiversity of the area, providing dense forest cover for the creatures that need such forests and damp conditions. It’s worth preserving the integrity of its ecosystem.