“The Eucalyptus is Part of California”

Monarch butterflies over-winter in California's eucalyptus groves
Monarch butterflies over-winter in California’s eucalyptus groves

The East Bay Express has published an op-ed in defense of the much maligned eucalyptus.  “The Eucalyptus is Part of California” is by Gregory Davis, a Berkeley resident.  We summarize the main points for our readers:

  • University of California, Berkeley’s plan to destroy all non-native trees—primarily eucalyptus, Monterey pine, and acacia—is characterized as a “meat-axe approach.” 
  • Applying herbicides repeatedly to prevent regrowth of non-natives is “tantamount to opening a can of worms.”  We don’t know the consequences of dousing our public land with toxic chemicals, just as we didn’t know that using Agent Orange during the War in Vietnam would permanently damage that country and its citizens.
  • The moderate approach advocated by the Hills Conservation Network is more reasonable.  Thinning and selective removal will do less damage.
  • Flammability of eucalyptus groves has been greatly exaggerated. 
  • Eucalyptus has lived in California longer than most of us have been alive.  They are more native than we are.
  • The loss of the “beauty and majesty” of eucalyptus in the hills will make hiking in the East Bay hills a less pleasant experience.  “Anyone who has hiked up the trail under the green canopy of these tall, stately, plumed-top, evergreen trees knows how precious they are.”

Thank you, Mr. Davis, for writing this article and to the East Bay Express for publishing it.  Critics of the native plant movement are learning that they must speak up if we are to save our trees.  The projects that destroy our trees finally became so big and so visible, that more people are aware of them and are more willing to defend our trees.

Eucalyptus Forest
Eucalyptus Forest

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