This week the East Bay Bay Regional Park District began a project to remove 200 dead standing trees in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. The trees are part of approximately 1,000 acres (as of March 2, 2021) of sudden tree die-off in Regional Parks first noticed in October 2020. Sudden tree mortality and dieback is a regional issue that is affecting the entire Bay Area region.
Tree die-off in Regional Parks is a major wildfire safety concern. Dead trees burn hotter, faster and are more likely to cast burning embers ahead of the original fire – igniting dangerous new fires or spot fires. Additionally, many of the areas impacted are in old eucalyptus plantations, which have a very high tree density.
The sudden tree die-off is affecting many different species of trees, including eucalyptus, acacia, bay, and pine. The project at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is removing mostly eucalyptus and pine trees. The specific cause of tree mortality and dieback is not currently known but most likely has a direct correlation to drought caused by climate change.
Regional Parks with the most significantly impacted are Anthony Chabot Regional Park (Castro Valley), Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park (Oakland/Berkeley), and Tilden Regional Park (Oakland/Berkeley).
The Park District is taking sudden tree die-off very seriously and moving as quickly as possible to remove hazardous trees as part of its approved and fully environmentally permitted Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan. However, the Park District needs additional state and federal resources to adequately address the tree die-off issue.
Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor