CONE’s Rancho Santa Fe Reforestation Coalition to meet March 21

The community is encouraged to join the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) for the first meeting of the RSF Reforestation Coalition on Monday, March 21, at 9 a.m. at the RSF Fire Protection District Station 1, 16936 El Fuego, Rancho Santa Fe.

“If we wish our community to be as wonderful and beautiful in 10, 20, 30 and more years from now as it is today, we must enlist the engagement of the whole community in an effort to address our Rancho Santa Fe forest,” said Bill Beckman, CONE chair. “It is critical that we all make an investment in our forest – for now and for the future.”

The Reforestation Coalition will address the serious tree issue in Rancho Santa Fe caused by a monoculture of eucalyptus and the lerp psyllid pest. Efforts at controlling the pest have failed, and the prolonged drought of recent years has further weakened Rancho Santa Fe’s forests and Red Gum Eucalyptus trees, making them especially vulnerable to attack by insects and diseases. Over the past 15 years the area has lost tens of thousands of Red Gum Eucalyptus trees and continues to lose thousands more of these beautiful mature trees each year, according to Beckman.

In addition to being an eyesore, dead and dying trees pose a major fire hazard. On its properties, the RSF Association has removed dead and dying trees, replacing them with newly planted native trees. The Fire Protection District enforces tree removal on private properties within 100 feet of a dwelling unit. However, the vast majority of the trees in the Covenant area are on properties over which only the private owner has control.

The coalition will look at ways to educate and encourage private property owners to plant appropriate trees and to obtain funding to make appropriate trees inexpensive and readily available to residents.

“A greater variety of trees planted now will cushion our tree environment against the vagaries of climate change and new pests, and keep the Ranch looking like the Ranch!” Beckman said.