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By on July 28, 2021 in News

On June 20 and 21, OVLC hired The C.R.E.W. to remove 7 non-native trees at the Ojai Meadows Preserve as part of a greater conservation effort to restore oak woodlands and savannas in the Ojai Valley.

In this changing climate, oaks are a tremendous investment in Ojai’s sustainable future. Investing in oak restoration today will benefit our community for hundreds of years. As part of restoring oaks in the valley, OVLC has received funding from Ventura County to continue planting oak trees at the Ojai Meadows Preserve. In partnership with the Green Valley Project (GVP), local youth will plant 51 oak nodes this year, and a minimum of 28 nodes next year. The trees will be watered, mulched, and weeded for a few years until they are established and able to thrive on their own.

Why are we removing the non-native trees?

Oaks are the dominant native tree species in the valley and provide a myriad of benefits to our community and the environment. Oaks provide habitat for thousands of species (flora and fauna) and influence the way the entire ecosystem operates. Oaks provide shade, capture fog, are drought-tolerant, and their root system slows rainwater which helps recharge groundwater supply in the valley. Oaks are also well-adapted to fire and can survive low intensity and infrequent fire events. A mature oak woodland with a closed canopy will even slow fast spreading wildland fire. Conversely, the non-native species removed which included Red Gum Tree (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle), and Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) are prone to wildfire and require an extraordinary amount of water. While we understand that these trees have become a valued part of the landscape, and that in the short term we will miss the shade and beauty they provide, the oak trees that replace them will benefit future generations.

All trees being removed over the next two days are located west of the Happy Valley Drainage on the Meiners Oaks Elementary School side of the preserve. Every tree is checked for wildlife before removal begins.

OVLC’s mission is to protect and restore natural ecosystems. In our changing climate, bringing the oaks back to Meiners Oaks will make our valley more resilient. Also, the trees that were cut down are not going to waste. They will be chipped and used as mulch to support the oak nodes.

For more information about this project, please contact: Brendan Taylor – (805) 649-6852 x 5

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