Sunset Boulevard is not an historically wooded area. It’s a sand dune. Like much of San Francisco, before colonization there were scant trees or even shrubs. The original ecosystem was a coastal scrub ecosystem, which contains many incredible plants, but few to zero “trees.”
Tree planting on the Boulevard is a cultural landscape and supports the neighborhood in many ways.
Large trees provide neighbors with a hedge that reduces noise from the road and also reduces the carcinogenic particulate pollution drift from car breaks and tires, diesel exhaust from trucks and gas pollution in general.
Trees also provide shade to bikers and walkers, and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, sequestering and storing carbon.
The original plan for the Boulevard included two primary species of trees: Cupressus macrocarpa and Pinus radiata. Of these species, only the Monterey Cypress will be replanted at similar numbers to those that currently grow on Sunset Blvd.
The pine will be supported if it grows from seed, but will not be replanted due to a disease called pitch chancre which is decimating the species and hard to combat.
Other California native species such as Coast Live Oak, Catalina Ironwood, California Buckeye and California Sycamore will become the new canopy trees, while Toyon, Silk Tassle and Cherry will serve as the understory plantings.
Climate Action Now! volunteers and staff have planted 650 trees on site. With 2,250 trees needed, we have a lot of work to go and lots of funds to raise to help us achieve our reforestation goals.