Monday, October 7, 2013

Semi Tropic Hell: Living Up To Its Name

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 5, 2013, 3:50 PM.  The heat island effect surrounding the Artis development just grew more intense this weekend, with the taking down of 90% of a 60' tall, non-native Ficus tree at the "corner" of El Moran & Alvarado.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

This was one of about 5 large trees remaining of the nearly 4-acre hillside urban forest, clear cut by the developer in 2012 to make way for the controversial 16-lot subdivision (15 single family homes; 1 "open space" lot). 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 5, 2013, 3:51 PM.  The 10% tree that remains is balancing precariously against the power lines leading to the top of the hill.  It seemed a bit dangerous and there was no DWP or Fire truck standing by in a Red Flag Warning day. No work occurred on Sunday.

It's incredibly hot on this slope since we lost the nearly 4 acres of trees here, next to the 2 & 5 Freeway heat islands.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 22, 2013.  It looks like the tree had been the victim of some bad tree trimming on the El Moran Street side.  But that's no reason to take down the entire tree.  Now it's so dangerous they have to take it down. 

The developer's tree report submitted to the Board of Public Works in 2011, as a part of the permit process for removing the protected native trees, identified this tree as a "high quality tree" (but somehow only stated it to be 24" diameter trunk - clearly it is much more looking at the first photo).  But in the big scheme of things - non native, non-protected trees don't count.  Since they are still under construction, they may only have to replace this tree with a tree that won't reach this size in our lifetime.

Most people moved to Silver Lake, Echo Park, Elysian Heights because they didn't want live in cookie cutter homes without trees.  Large trees add value to property, provide shade & reduce cooling costs.   

Note: "Semi Tropic Hell" is my file name for Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract development battles, which date back to the late 1970s.  The Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract was cut in 1905.