A place where trees do not belong
Trees are extremely important for life on Earth. They not only provide food and shelter for a diverse array of species, they take up CO2 and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Today’s society is all about planting trees, so why was CHIRP’s mission to remove all of them? Although trees as a whole are beneficial, pine trees are an invasive species on Catalina Island – they use resources and occupy prime habitat for other plant species native to the island.
The pictures above demonstrate the before and after of the site we treated. There are two steps in treating these pine trees. First, we took a handsaw and cut down the main trunk as close to the ground, below all of the branches, as we could. The second step had a crucial time element – it had to be completed in the few minutes after the first step. In the second step, we used a 50% solution of Glyphosate Pro 4, an industrial herbicide, to make sure the tree did not re-sprout. We applied the herbicide to the ring around the inner wood of the tree, called the cambium. It is lighter in color and responsible for regrowth.
We undertook this project with the REGIs, the high school volunteers from Avalon and the CHIRP team of Grant and Nate. It was a nice break from our usual fennel removal work, and a reminder that even trees can be invasive species.