Thursday, December 11, 2008

where have all the birches gone?

Down at Gore and Union there has been a vacant lot for some time. It has also been a hot spot for arson and vandalism from the haters of gentrification.
They had placed some orange fencing around some of the larger trees there. I understood this fence to mean that they would be saved.There were about 4 birches initially.Some were larger than others.

I had seen some spectacular wildlife there from time to time as well. If you can call inner city wildlife spectacular, and I believe you can.
Giant 'coons sunning themselves on the roofs of the now burned out homes.
A big Buteo looking for lunch.
It was a familiar corner. One that has been changing ever so slowly.
The fenced in trees started to become a receptacle for garbage and starbucks cups. Clothing. Other flotsam of the downtown eastside.

The other day, I noticed that the very last tree had been cut down.
They had been disappearing over time, broken off, snapped in half.
This one was more obvious.
Someone actually tramped down the orange fence and cut it down.
There was no evidence left behind except a stump.

I started to wonder about some of the other Birches in the neighbourhood.
Three on the south side of Strathcona school field. Three at the park house on Keefer and Heatley.It is a bummer to see so many disappear. Leaving stumps.


anouk said...

Boo! Save the birches.

Anonymous said...

Be vigilant.
Like that red tailed hawk.

Lindsay said...

The birches have died all up and down the coast, down past Seattle all the way to Portland. It's partly climate change - these droughty summers stressing the trees - and then the Birch Borer Beetle moving in. The three beautiful birches across from me in Strath were clearly dead at the top and were cut down last year (and I've been heating my place with them ever since) and when you look at the logs, you can see the rot inside. Most of the tree was bone dry, and there were leaves only at the bottom (as with your photo of the three at Heatley and Keefer). The reason the city's been topping them is that the tops fall off in the slightest wind. During the infamous typhoon that felled Stanley Park the top of one of those birches became a missile and lay across the road, and I think that was the last straw for the city. Since the ones across from me are on elementary school property, they couldn't take a chance. It's sad though because you know how much birds love dying trees - those 3 birches were full of Northern Flickers pounding at the bark and eating bugs, and I loved them. Now they've planted another sticky, mouldy goddamn non-native oak, which irks me. But the city arborist isn't happy about all the birch death either. I sort of like that they've tried to let those 3 in Maclean Park try to regrow. They look weird, but they just might live.