Jack Gescheidt 
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Re: “Letters for the Week of August 5, 2015

If you walk into the eucalyptus forests of the East Bay hills and just look, and listen, you'll know instantly these trees are thriving, thank you very much. In fact, they may fare much better than oaks and bays in surviving the CA droughts.

Abundant bird sounds, salamanders under the duff, and 10" of annual fog drop rain is created by these naturalized forest, thriving in CA for about 150 years.

All the demonizing of eucalyptus trees that tars them as "weeds" and worse, as "gasoline trees" that are a threat to our safety, ignore fire science, climate science, and common sense.

The current plan to cut down HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of them will actually CREATE A FIRE HAZARD by turning living forest canopy, which produces cooling shade, into dead wood (logs and wood chips), left on the ground, not removed from the hills.

Please folks, don't believe all the myths and misinformation that would have you hate and fear...trees. Eucalyptus are, after all, trees, offering all the myriad benefits trees of all species do, no matter their country of origin.

READ MORE ABOUT the roots of this environmentally devastating campaign that would be the largest SF Bay Area deforestation in 100 years: http://www.TreeSpiritProject.com/SFbayClea…

Posted by Jack Gescheidt on 08/07/2015 at 11:58 AM

Re: “East Bay Hills Tree Removal Plan Still Sparking Debate

There are numerous key omissions in both this article and the comments so far. I hope objective readers new to this controversy will read the following facts, and learn the truth behind the misleading euphemism of “vegetation management” for what will be: The largest SF Bay Area forest clearcuts in 100 years:

1) the scale of these clearcuts is massive - the biggest SF Bay Area deforestation in 100 years. It has nothing to do with fire danger mitigation because, for starters, all the living trees cut WILL NOT BE REMOVED FROM THE HILLSIDES. They will only be chopped into logs and wood chips and LEFT ON THE GROUND TO BURN in any future fire.

2) Fire science has established that, since ALL species of trees contain large amounts of water (ever try to burn a green log in your fireplace?), they are far LESS flammable than dry grasses and low shrubs. Learn fire science facts in a blistering critique of the deforestation plan by a firefighter who served on the Mayor’s Task Force determining the ACTUAL causes of the 1991 fire routinely, ERRONEOUSLY blamed on eucalyptus (because fear works):http://treespiritproject.com/wp-content/up…

3) There will be NO REPLANTING OF ANY KIND. So the truly “invasive” plants like poison oak, thistle and broom will grow where forest canopies are destroyed, then bake in hot, direct summer/autumn sun to BECOME THEIR OWN FIRE HAZARD (what started the 1991 fire);

4) Despite repeating the lie endlessly, eucalyptus are not more “flammable” than “native” bay laurels which also contain volatile oils in their leaves (hold a bay leaf over a lit stove and see). And bay trees grow closer to the ground, and grasses, than blue gums, so ignite MORE readily in a grass fire. But the Big “flammable" Lie is repeated because FEAR the actual agenda...

5) SPECIES ERADICATION, the destruction of ALL Monterey pines, acacia, and eucalyptus trees, no matter how many, even hundreds of thousands which…

6) IGNORES CLIMATE SCIENCE and carbon sequestration — millions of pounds of carbon is sequestered in 450,000 trees — ignoring deforestation’s affect on local climate. Common sense alone tells the average, unbiased person that when you cut down over 2,000 acres of forest canopy, those areas will heat up from direct sun;

7) a contradiction: A) “We’re not clearcutting, we’re thinning trees” and B) “These are dangerous, flammable, gasoline trees.” If B is true, then why NOT cut them all down? Why only thin such dangerous trees? Why NOT clearcut them?

8) the Feb. 1992 FEMA report released after the fire, in its many recommendations, says: “Do not target particular species such as Blue Gum Eucalyptus or Monterey Pine for eradication or exemption from tree regulation policies, but require regular maintenance to reduce fire hazard.” Read for yourself: http://www.hillsconservationnetwork.org/Ad…

Jack Gescheidt, Founder
The TreeSpirit Project
LEARN MORE: http://treespiritproject.com/sfbayclearcut

12 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Jack Gescheidt on 06/26/2015 at 3:39 PM

Re: “FEMA Approves Funds to Thin Trees in East Bay Hills, Rather than Clear-Cutting

Below are excerpts from professional fire fighter David Maloney's assessment of the East Bay clearcut plan. Maloney was appointed Chief of Fire Prevention at Oakland Army Base by the U.S. Dept. of the Army in 1989.

In 1991 he served on the "Task Force on Emergency Preparedness & Community Restoration" formed to assess the 1991 hills fire and prevent its recurrence. Quoting from the report:

“Some people have it backwards. They want to give a high fire hazard rating to green (living) trees and cut them down, because they did not originate in California, when it has been shown over and over again that green trees, regardless of where they originated, are a bulwark against wildfire because of the moisture they contribute to the ground fuels and because they act as windbreaks.”

"[Any tree, no matter what its species, that is close to ignition point or is on fire, is going to have its sap, resins, and oils boiling.]"

"Nowhere in the twenty editions and tens of thousands of pages of the Fire Protection Handbook is there a mention of the leaves or bark of the Eucalyptus trees. (The Fire Protection Handbook (20th edition, 2008), published by the National Fire Protection Association, Volume II, pg. 13)"

One of the report's many conclusions:

"An inordinate amount of the Plan is an attempt at land transformation disguised as a wildfire hazard mitigation plan. If it is implemented it will endanger firefighters and the general public; and it will be an outrageous waste of the taxpayer's money."

Please, EVERYONE, read the entire report and decide for yourself. I've posted it in its entirely, unedited, HERE: http://treespiritproject.com/wp-content/up…

My hope is people will educate themselves, not just spread rumors of eucalyptus being so flammable — it's simply not true, but rumors take time to be unraveled, and more information is the key.

Jack Gescheidt, Founder

14 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Jack Gescheidt on 06/07/2015 at 10:14 AM

Re: “FEMA Approves Funds to Thin Trees in East Bay Hills, Rather than Clear-Cutting

Allow me to reframe this issue: This is the largest San Francisco Bay Area clearcut in 100 years — over 450,000 healthy mature trees will be cut down beginning August, 2015. The SCALE of this deforestation has gotten no media attention because it’s been framed as an “invasive plant” issue and “fire risk abatement” program. Total numbers are not mentioned by the 3 parties involved: UC Berkeley, The City of Oakland, East Bay Regional Parks District.

In short: so-called “native plant” advocates have exaggerated the fire danger of eucalyptus trees in order to get (FEMA) federal funds and public acquiescence to “reduce invasive non-native species.”

But the truth is eucalpytus are not “invasive” and pose no greater fire danger than some other species. Planted here by the thousands starting 150 years ago, they've since integrated into the ecosystem, co-existing with myriad other plants and animals. They are no more “flammable” than some so-called “native” trees like bay laurels, or coyote brush which are ignored because “nativists" don’t target them.

These massive clear cuts of mature forests come in our era of global warming when we need trees of ALL species to keep doing all that they do: sequestering carbon, shading the earth, producing O2, etc. And the plan includes no replanting of any kind, native or otherwise.

And thousands of gallons of toxic Dow Garlon™ and Monsanto Roundup™ will be applied to stumps and sprouts, poisoning land, groundwater, animals and ultimately humans, too.

This is an era of anthropogenic climate change — caused in part by massive deforestation projects like this one. We should be planting 450,000 MORE trees of ANY species, not killing them.

If people knew the huge numbers of trees to be killed, they’d not stand for it.

See my “TreeSpirit Project” webpage for more this issue, and a video of a 7-acre clearcut UC Berkeley already did: http://www.TreeSpiritProject.com/EastBayClearcut

46 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Jack Gescheidt on 04/29/2015 at 8:00 PM

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