Map of Mt. Sutro and Interior Greenbelt. The darker shade of green is the Interior Greenbelt under the jurisdiction of the SF Recreation & Parks Department. The lighter shade of green is under the jurisdiction of the University of California at San Francisco.
By Thomas K. Pendergast
There are two plans for dealing with the blue gum eucalyptus trees on Mount Sutro, and they appear to be going in opposite directions.
The San Francisco Planning Department and Recreation and Parks Department will be cutting 140 of the trees down in the Interior Greenbelt section of the forest they control on the east side of Mr. Sutro, near Stanyan Street.
Meanwhile, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) officials recently announced a plan to plant more of the non-native trees on the land they have control over.
The 20-year plan for the 61-acre reserve behind UCSF’s inner Sunset campus will be executed in four phases, each taking about five years to complete.
Matt Greene, a consultant on the Mount Sutro Technical Advisory committee (TAC), said the forest density varies, with a range of 45 to 270 trees per acre.
“It was a pretty big range there. That’s why we actually separated out different vegetation types, so we could capture those different micro-climates and those different areas within the reserve,” Greene said. “Forest Type 1 has the most trees per acre. It’s also got the most dead trees per acre. It has 270 trees per acres (plus) over 100 dead trees per acre standing right now.”
Greene also said about a quarter of the trees on the reserve have less than 25 percent of their “life crowns,” indicating that they are not healthy.
“Those trees aren’t dead. We aren’t writing them off, but we’re really worried that they’re not going to make it through an extended drought, if that’s what we’re really heading into.”
So, the initial phase will focus on removing dead, dying, unhealthy and structurally unsound trees; controlling low-growing vines and shrubs that compete with more desired vegetation; and, planting new trees, including four acres that will be replanted with blue gum eucalyptus.