Quantcast

5 Reasons This Clearcut of Nearly Half a Million Trees Is a Horrible Idea

The largest San Francisco Bay Area forest clearcut in 100 years will begin in August. An estimated 450,000 healthy, mature trees in the Oakland and Berkeley hills and county parklands will be cut down and chopped into logs and piles of wood chips.

The Bay Area agencies' plans would destroy nearly half a million trees. Photo Credit: Jack Gescheidt/Tree Spirit Project

Included in the deforestation plan:

  • 325 acres of trees in Tilden Regional Park
  • 200 acres of trees in Anthony Chabot Regional Park
  • 152 acres of trees in Claremont Canyon Preserve
  • 162 acres of trees in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
  • 112 acres of trees in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
  • 151 acres of trees in Redwood Regional Park

The public is mostly unaware of the plan. There is no website or overview provided by the three agencies doing the clearcutting—East Bay Regional Parks District, City of Oakland and University of California, Berkeley—presumably because of public outrage if the huge numbers of trees to be felled were known.

The approximate half-million trees estimate was also not provided by the agencies, but determined by an independent citizen group, one of several working to preserve the urban forests by publicizing the plan.

Healthy East Bay hills mixed eucalpytus forest creates 10 inches of annual fog-drip rain. Photo credit: Jack Gescheidt/Tree Spirit Project

The plan also includes:

1. Applying thousands of gallons of Monsanto Roundup and Dow Garlon to tens of thousands of tree stumps, twice each year, or as needed, to prevent re-sprouting, in perpetuity. These toxic chemicals will leach into land, groundwater, mammals (like rodents who live in stumps), birds (like raptors who eat rodents) and humans who use the parklands.

2. No replanting of any kind is planned so this is not habitat "restoration" as claimed by the clearcutting parties, but forest habitat destruction;

3. The felling of 450,000 trees will release huge amounts of sequestered/stored carbon in our era of anthropogenic climate change, itself caused in part by deforestation. Deforestation contributes more greenhouse gases (20 percent) than the entire transportation sector—cars, planes, buses, trains, trucks, etc.—combined (14 percent).

4. The massive deforestation will increase fire danger in the East Bay hills by destroying over 2,000 acres of shade-making forest canopy. Live trees will be cut down into dead logs and chips that will then be left on the ground to dry out. From a fire suppression perspective, the fuel load will be changed from living forest with shaded canopy to dead wood drying in direct summer sun. The wood will be at ground level, among grasses and shrubs where the vast majority of East Bay urban wildfires start. This was the case with the devastating 1991 Oakland hills fire.

Healthy trees have been turned into piles of wood chips. Photo credit: Jack Gescheidt/Tree Spirit Project

5. Huge loss of wildlife habitat. Thousands of birds, and small animals will be driven from their precious and dwindling urban forest homes.

In an additional effort to publicize the plan and rally the SF Bay Area community, the environmental art project, The TreeSpirit Project, will host a community rally and make an art photograph with attendees on July 18 at 7 a.m.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

7 Facts That Prove the Renewable Energy Revolution Has Arrived

4 Climate Surprises From Al Gore in Iowa

Ted Glick: It’s Time to Stop FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Fracking Infrastructure Projects

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less