[fosc] Redwoods

Ralph Kanz rkanz at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 6 12:02:20 PST 2006

Today's Chronicle has an article about the planting of redwoods at Claremont Canyon: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/06/BAGFOHIUKB1.DTL

There are troubling aspects to this story of well intentioned people.  The claim that "there was a time centuries ago when redwoods covered most of the East Bay hills" is not supported by the historic record.  All sources I am aware of show that the extent of redwoods today is the same as that present when Europeans first arrived in this area.  The planting of redwoods in the areas described will have a negative impact on species of plants and animals resident to the area.  Redwood forests do not support the species diversity that once occupied the East Bay Hills.  When indigenous peoples managed the wildlands of the East Bay, grassland plant communities dominated the landscape.  These grasslands had some of the highest plant diversity ever observed.  Coastal scrub and chaparral plant communities that also occupied the project area cannot survive in a redwood forest.  Planting vast areas with redwoods has long term consequences no less than those caused by the large scale planting of eucalyptus in the last century.

Redwoods covering the East Bay Hills is a popular urban myth.  There are numerous sources that document historic plant communities of the East Bay. A thorough discussion of the human impacts on natural resources in our area needs to take place.  Without understanding the impacts of both indigenous peoples and subsequent immigrants, we cannot make wise choices about our future.  

Ralph Kanz
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