The City Forester estimated over 170 public trees were lost in 2015, in addition to a 7-year back log. In 2014, 142 trees were removed with only 39 replaced. Simply put, Carmel's trees are in trouble. Development, disease, drought are the main culprits, but neglect, lack of resources for management and code enforcement are also to blame. Climate change will also have an impact, with higher temperatures affecting the moisture rich fog that our forest depends on.
Walk down any Carmel-by-the-Sea street and you will witness trees that are struggling to survive or are no longer there. Whole blocks that were once graced by towering pines and cypress are now just sparsely dotted with trees. Fortunately, there is now enthusiasm from the City Council to fully implement and fund the FMP. Will they move ahead and replenish and care for the forest in the very near future? It is getting late. Our forest is losing and we cannot afford to wait.
Written by Robert Shuler