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By on March 8, 2022 in Featured, News, Newsletter

Every week we receive feedback from someone in the community letting us know how we are doing. While most of these comments are glowingly positive, we are not immune to negative comments. Earlier this year we received a thumbs down in the Ojai Valley News for removing trees from the Ojai Meadows Preserve. 

While positive comments reinforce our drive to protect Ojai’s open spaces (and as long as we are being honest – make us feel good too), we really do appreciate hearing from all of our supporters. Your voices, even if they are critical of what we are doing, remind us how important these lands are to everyone in the community. We know that you speak loudly because you care and we are grateful for this. It was because of passionate members of the community that the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy was formed 35 years ago. 

In the past 35 years we have grown from a volunteer-run organization that was looking to preserve the character of the Ojai Valley, to a dedicated team of employees who not only manage 2,400 acres of land in the Ojai Valley, but who are restoring this land back to native habitat to help create a more resilient Ojai (we are also actively looking to expand our land protection). While not everyone agrees on how we do this (we understand folks are upset when we remove non-native trees and when we close certain trails to equestrians and bikers after heavy rains), we all share a common mission: to protect and restore the open space, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and views of the Ojai Valley for current and future generations. 

Xena Grossman
Development Manager


Back in July 2021, the OVLC removed several non-native red gum trees (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) from the Ojai Meadows Preserves. We also removed a Peruvian pepper tree (Schinus molle), a Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), and a Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta). We made the difficult decision to remove these non-native trees as part of a larger effort to restore the preserve and help make our community more resilient in the long term. 

Eucalyptus are non-native, invasive trees that consume lots of water and provide little benefit to biodiversity, especially in our unique region. These trees create intense competition with our oaks and shrubs for limited water supplies, which increases the stress on native habitats. Eucalyptus trees are allelopathic, meaning that fallen leaves secrete oils in the soil that prevent any other plants from growing around them, so our native shrubs and grasses don’t stand a chance with them around. These oils are also extremely flammable and can facilitate the spread of wildfire if ignited by an ember. As drought and fire become more frequent and more severe, these characteristics of eucalyptus are a serious threat to community resiliency. 

We also removed these trees to provide space and resources for the oak woodland restoration work we are doing at the preserve with support from the County. OVLC field staff have been planting hundreds of acorns, oak saplings, and native shrubs in the fields in an effort to restore the habitat. 

Vivon Crawford
Restoration Program Manager 

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