Green (4) Good and bad

EucaliptusEach profession has its myths or realities, depending of its concern. Typography experts hate some fonts, dress designers find some apparel disgusting in some moments, mathematicians despise the asymetries in thought, and architects… well, we architects can dislike almost everything depending of the day, or just things other people find ugly (we cannot be redeemed…).

Environmentalists hug trees… but not every tree. For instance, in northern Spain (not the image you have of a sun-scorched stepe, but much closer to Britanny in France) it common to hear complaints about eucaliptus, as those on the image (Santa Cristina beach, Oleiros), as they are not from the region,are prone to displace native species and take high water amounts. As with other fast growth trees, environmentalists say that these are a mere speculative plantation with a poor ecological record.

Up until that it seems clear. But now enters the climate change issue. On average nearly all the wood species have the same content of carbon per weight, so the faster a tree grows, the faster it captures atmospheric carbon, which is a good thing… If wood harvesting is properly conducted: a fire would release the carbon, or bad soil management would also have the opposed consequences. As always in ecology, a complex system, there is no single factor that can tell you if something is good.

Anyway, walking under these trees I can sometimes understand those that love the buildings I find appalling…