To the dismay of a number of environmental scientists, about 15 old eucalyptus trees are in the process of being cut down on the UCSB campus near Noble Hall. Miffed by the sight outside her office, Rachel Spratt, a second-year marine science PhD student, took to the Internet and started an online petition to stop the work about two weeks ago. The trees help prevent the growth of ice plant, which pervades the campus, Spratt said.
According to UCSB spokesperson George Foulsham, the decision to cut down the trees was part of a public review process in 2010 and was approved through the California Environmental Quality Act and by the Coastal Commission. Recently, many of the trees were deemed hazardous because they had hollow trunks, Foulsham said via email. The removal was scheduled now to avoid nesting season, Foulsham added, and UCSB will plant at least 13 lemon-scented trees in part of the same area.