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Development, climate change, and trees

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National Geographic reports that "if carbon emissions remain unchecked by the end of the century deadly heat waves will threaten up to 75 percent of the world's population."

"Every day in summer, trees release about 29 tons of oxygen into the air per square mile of forest. A person breathes in 2 pounds of oxygen a day, so that would serve 29,000 people. Every walk in the forest is like taking a shower in oxygen." The Hidden Life of Trees

With the numerous developments underway in SLO, we have need to worry about our air: 71 Palomar will take 55 out of 59 mature trees, Imel Ranch will take out 75, and Avila Ranch will take out 64. San Luis Ranch will take out 244 and, additionally, the Cannon Tree Removal Site Plan, shows the removal of 65 trees along Madonna Road. This is a total of 452 trees that will be destroyed in SLO.

These trees provide habitat for special status avian species and wintering monarch butterflies. The eagles making a comeback from Marin to Santa Barbara will certainly rest here.

I love trees, and most important to me is a tree's beauty and how the groves of eucalyptus add to the experience of the Laguna Lake neighborhood. I have been enjoying these trees for 36 years.

I encourage developers to keep as many of the mature blue gum eucalyptus as possible and to re-design the layout of housing in a much more creative way with housing placed throughout the major trees on a site with a mix of social diversities as well as more affordable housing.

With the water crisis in California and the USA's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, we cannot expect newly planted trees to grow to the size of the trees at Palomar or San Luis Ranch, and therefore, we should work together to keep them alive, along with the birds and wildlife.

The Friends of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve has recently voted to modify their original plan to remove all eucalyptus and will instead retain those larger than 18 inches in diameter.

With additional time spent on site planning, I believe that more trees and their valuable habitats can be integrated with living units to provide a richly fresh opportunity to live within nature, implementing the city's mitigation policy "to develop and maintain a park system at a rate of 10 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents."

The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago and the second best time to plant trees is now: treeplantation.com.

Sandra Lakeman

San Luis Obispo

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