It’s news to me that Portola brought the eucalyptus with him on his expedition to California’s Central Coast in the 1700s (“Leave us eucalyptus lovers alone,” Jan. 5). The history books I’ve read suggest most eucalyptus in California are the product of a failed experiment to use the fast-growing timber for construction and fuel at the turn of the century. It proved to be not very good for either.
The eucalyptus at Sweet Springs are likely feral offshoots from the plantation started by Walter Redfield off Pecho Road in the 1920s. The only trees deliberately planted on the preserve in times past were Monterey cypress. But whether feral or cultivated, Audubon has no plans to remove trees on the existing preserve open to the public. We have proposed gradually removing up to a dozen eucalyptus per year on the new preserve if they are not being used by raptors or monarchs.
We will be planting three oaks for each eucalyptus removed in hopes of restoring some of the native woodland lost to development. And if providing free access to the preserve for the conservation and appreciation of our natural heritage for over 25 years is not a “positive” thing to do, I don’t know what is.