You are here: Home / Letters / The Destruction of Our Trees
The Destruction of Our Trees
October 3, 2013 -
I have thought long and hard about the following issue.
There are some very well-intentioned and dedicated people in Topanga who, in the interest of fire safety, have pursued grants that have been made available by the National Park Service (NPS) to assist homeowners in the removal of certain types of trees. The trees in question are pines and eucalyptus. I was recently told that 69 trees have been removed from various properties in Topanga and this disturbs me. I dont really understand the rationale behind this. I am aware that some eucalyptus trees are a fire hazard.
Pine trees and the embers they generate can also be a hazard. I also agree that a dead pine needs to be removed and certain species of eucalyptus trees require special care. But in my opinion, to remove 69 trees in our canyon is extreme. I also know that the removal of these trees was strictly voluntary on the part of the homeowners and no one was forced to cut them down. But I do wonder how the removal of one pine or one eucalyptus tree here or there can stop a raging wind-driven firestorm in Topanga Canyon. Officials in the L.A. County Forestry Department told me that it cant, and under the right conditions everything burns.
We know that the removal of trees on hillsides causes erosion and there is no financing in place to replant them.
What happens to the animals that are disrupted by their displacement? It is well known that the Monarch butterflies are attracted to eucalyptus trees.
What about amount of shade and the level of oxygen that is diminished, which causes temperatures to rise?
And finally, what is the effect on property values?
There are those who say we have to do all we can to make our canyon safe from fire. If I thought the removal of these trees was the way, I would be totally supportive. So the question is: Are these actions doing more harm than good? Where is the debate on the subject? For your information there will be another round of funding and $88,000 will be made available by NPS to continue this fuel modification program in the fall. Please understand, I have not written this letter to stir up a fight between our very dedicated groups. We all love Topanga, but the community as a whole needs to have a conversation on this issue.