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Rekindling Debate Over Eucalyptus

Editor,

 

I guess Ms. Christoph is right, repeat something often enough and people begin to believe it, including herself (“Point of View,” Village Matters, May 6).  She claims that Eucalyptus trees with proper maintenance (they grow very fast and are expensive to maintain, are very thirsty plants and tap down deep into soil and rob other plants of water and nutrients) really don’t burn more than any other tree. Why do they sell Eucalyptus as premium fire wood?

 

Let’s debunk this romantic notion of our forefathers who planted these trees. Just because the early settlers planted these trees without realizing the long term consequence, must we continue to do what does not make sense?

 

Have you driven deep into Laguna Canyon or Bluebird Canyon? These areas are littered with Eucalyptus debris. When there is a fire, sparks fly through the air and these sparks are not discriminate. Eucalyptus trees burn quickly and generate much heat because of their high oil content. Oh yes, the great fire of 1993. If I remember correctly, you were mayor then and admonished for your fascination with Eucalyptus trees.

 

Eucalyptus are invasive non-natives.  Laguna Beach and local state parks are trying to get rid of non-native plants, but why does Ms. Christoph not agree?

 

Views.  Your vision for Laguna was is to have a forest covering the hillsides so that no houses would be seen from Coast Highway. There are plenty of people here in town, hillside or not, who not only pay a premium for ocean view (the most expansive, the more expensive) but that is the sole reason they move to Laguna. I have heard enough horror stories from very upset people who in good faith bought homes here only to have their view destroyed. You show up to defend the Eucalyptus tree.

 

Local, county, and state agencies include Eucalyptus trees as being very high fire risk plants in their literature. Some cities outlaw these plants. Chile, Portugal, South Africa are spending millions of dollars to eliminate them.

 

All of the above information came from reliable, scientific, professional resources on the Internet.

 

I suggest that Ms. Christoph send these countries and agencies copies of her editorial. It would be interesting to see the responses. I know that many people in town are shaking their heads in disbelief that this editorial of yours was even published, especially after the heavy rains and resulting extensive weed growth we had this year.

 

Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach

 

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