VANDALS have damaged a tree alongside Coolum's iconic boardwalk.
Bark on the two main trunks of the beach almond, which provides generous shade near the half-way lookout along the boardwalk, has been crudely hacked off.
Coolum Boardwalk Association president Dave Simons is at a loss to understand why anyone would damage the tree.
"It seems unlikely it's been done to improve anybody's view because other trees surrounding it would impede the view in any case," he said.
"Somebody had to have an axe or machete or something of that order - it's not a pocket knife job.
"It's someone with a significant tool that has hacked into that and cut off a substantial amount of bark and cut into the wood of the tree.
Mr Simons hoped the tree had not been poisoned.
"If no herbicide has been used in those cuts, then it's not going to be fatal but it's certainly going to restrict the flow of sap in the tree and therefore weaken the tree - and leaves an ugly scar."
Mr Simons said that in the nine years since its completion, the boardwalk had been treated with respect by local residents, many of whom had helped design and build the 500m timber structure.
"We have been very fortunate in that there has been very little vandalism," he said.
"This is probably partly due to the strong sense of community ownership of the boardwalk.
"It's really disappointing to see this happening here on the one little area that has nice shade over the boardwalk."
Mr Simons is appealing for community help to find the vandals. He said if people noticed any suspicious activity on the boardwalk late last week they could contact the council on 5475 7272.