UCSF has issued its proposed Final Environmental Impact Report. (You can read it here as a PDF. It’s more than 2000 pages. Mount Sutro Vegetation Management Plan 2018 Final EIR_Full Document
They expect to have it certified by the Board of Regents soon. [Edited to add on May 5 2018: UCSF has announced the plan is approved. “Earlier this week, UCSF’s Chancellor approved the final plan following the certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report. Now that the plan is approved and finalized, UCSF can begin implementation in September, after the end of bird-nesting season.”]
This will mean they will start cutting down thousands of trees this Fall, probably in
mid-August September 2018. If you love this forest, visit it now. It’s going to look very different by this time next year.
A lot of trees are already gone, cut down in the name of “safety.” This is true not only of the UCSF section of the forest, but also in the Interior Green Belt (the city-owned portion.)
It’s also going to be bad for carbon sequestration; a rough calculation made by the Nature Conservancy estimated that 1 acre of trees was equivalent to preventing a year’s emission by 30 cars. Cutting down trees here will release a lot of Green House gases.
We also expect poorer air quality. These trees fight particulate pollution, at least while they’re standing.
In both the short and long term, there may well be issues of slope stability. The trees, and their intergrafted roots, stabilize the slopes like a deep living geotextile. The trees also precipitate fog, keeping the surface soil damp, but use the moisture at the lower levels and thus prevent the soil from getting deeply saturated. As to roots of the felled trees die, the geotextile starts to decay. Meanwhile, the trees are no longer drying the deeper soil. The landslide risk could remain for years after the trees are felled, waiting for the right circumstances.
All the wiggly black lines in the map below indicate soil creep direction, and the straight double arrows show the direction of potential landslides.