Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Update: Local Redwood Tree Gets a Reprieve

Just one of millions of trees that died in the California drought, the loss of the tree has nevertheless hit close to home.

Update, 10/31: We received another appeal last week as well. The adoration of the neighbors and the charm of the tree, the urban forestry division has decided to leave the redwood standing at this time. The tree is in decline and has significant dieback. We will re-inspect the tree in March 2017. At that point we will reassess the health and its overall vigor.--Peter Provenzale, Urban Forest Supervisor, City of Santa Monica

The old, beautiful redwood tree in front of my Santa Monica home is destined for the chopping block this week. The City of Santa Monica, which has an active tree removal department called "Community forestry," red tagged my tree on October 7, 2016. No one has appealed the decision at The tree is undeniably brown, a victim of the drought.

There is something special about redwood trees, which is why people turn them into tables and such. Just one of millions of trees that died in the California drought, the loss of the tree has nevertheless hit close to home. My children used to hide behind it when they were small and playing. And what says "California" better than a Redwood tree

Coast redwood and giant sequoia were jointly designated the state tree of California and are famous California tourist attractions. Redwood National and State Parks and several parks including Giant Sequoia National Monument protect almost half the remaining stands of Coast Redwoods and Giant sequoias.

In Redlands, a group has been formed to save local trees in parks, while in Butte County, a local emergency has been declared over dead trees.

The Redlands Sustainability Network and Inland Empire Resource Conservation District are offering yard signs to bring awareness to the need to water trees during California's ongoing drought. The group also has planned a Nov. 12 forum on tree watering.

"We want to bring attention to the tree crisis in Redlands and how we can help the residents learn about how to take care of their trees," said Sustainability Network member Diane Turley.

Senator Dianne Feinstein announced on October 17th, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is designating $11 million to help complete 10 dead tree removal projects on 12,000 acres of California's national forests. Feinstein last month urged USDA to take this action.

"USDA has designated $11 million to remove dead trees on 12,000 acres of California's Stanislaus, Sierra, El Dorado and Sequoia national forests, an important step forward. More federal investment will be needed to remove the dead trees most likely to fuel destructive wildfires, but these funds are a down payment to begin to address this crisis and reduce the risk to public safety. Trees that pose a threat to people and property will be removed-there will not be clear cutting. I thank Secretary Vilsack for his quick response to my request.

"Five years of punishing drought and resulting pest infestations have resulted in 66 million dead trees in California's forests. According to firefighting officials, about 5.5 million of these trees pose a particularly high risk to people and property. They are most likely to contribute to increasingly destructive and unpredictable fires near population centers and fall on roads, power lines and homes.

"California has already suffered through more than 6,000 fires this year, burning more than 630,000 acres, killing seven and destroying more than 1,270 homes and other structures. If California is ever going to get a handle on these increasingly damaging and volatile wildfires, we need to address the root of the problem and remove the highest-risk dead trees."Redwood trees or Cupressaceae, are a widely distributed conifer family, with a near-global range in all continents except for Antarctica, stretching from 71°N in arctic Norway (Juniperus communis) south to 55°S in southernmost Chile (Pilgerodendron uviferum), while Juniperus indica reaches 5200 m altitude in Tibet, the highest altitude reported for any woody plant. Most habitats on land are occupied, with the exceptions of polar tundra and tropical lowland rainforest (though several species are important components of temperate rainforests and tropical highland cloud forests); they are also rare in deserts, with only a few species able to tolerate severe drought, notably Cupressus dupreziana in the central Sahara. Despite the wide overall distribution, many genera and species show very restricted relictual distributions, and many are endangered species.


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