New Life for the Presidio’s Historic Forest
“Goldsworthy’s inspiration comes from the subtle shifts of place and time, fitting for a place where people and the environment are constantly influencing each other, and the human-altered landscape coexists with the wild.”
This article is incredibly interesting and raises a very relevant issue. UC Berkeley’s stand of eucalyptus is about ready to die, and huge chunks of Yosemite burned this year in the Rim fire. What to do with these naked spaces? Should the UC replant the eucalyptus which has so firmly established itself within the minds of the faculty and students, as well as influenced much of the surrounding architecture, or should there be some sort of native plant array there more complimentary to the watershed? Similarly, should Yosemite be replanted with trees, or should the scrub forest which would naturally take over at this point be allowed to grow in? This is such a fascinating thought about the nature of naturalness and what defines flora as native. Could the eucalyptus naturally (without human aid) propagate in these spots? Perhaps not, but it’s become integrated into the ecosystem here in these spaces. For the better? Further, can we in good conscience let a huge patch of Yosemite be taken over by shrub when it was our fire suppression efforts which facilitated the intensity of the crown fires to begin with? Nature is not always a benevolent mistress, perhaps some lovely and diverse ecosystem would flower in that shrub forest. We may only be (or are certainly) retarding biodiversity by trying to maintain a static system, not allowing for succession, because of our aesthetic and sentimental desires. Our role as members of the biota and, ideally, as intelligent ecosystem gardeners is something we are still figuring out. Pollan’s point about this in Chapter 10 of Second Nature is very apt, The Idea of a Garden.