Wednesday, February 08, 2012
The Fate of Urban Trees: A Sobering Update
This new article "Tree Fall" in Conservation magazine should be required reading and a call to action for our local and regional leaders.
Long time readers of this blog have seen assorted pieces about the obvious values that trees offer our ever more congested urban areas. Trees help mitigate pollution, reduce energy costs and storm water run-off.
They add beauty and attract wildlife. They make people feel better, and help to make our cities more tolerable and humane. By the way, none of the points in the preceding two sentences are speculation - they are pretty well established facts.
But this article points out that in this study it seems like we (as a society) are heading the wrong way.
Over the years I have said to many of my colleagues - only partly in jest - that there are no accidents when it comes to the existence of urban trees. In many cases these trees were planted and looked after for by others before us. It's not always easy for a community to maintain the quality of their urban tree population in the face of storms, invasive species, development, and shrinking budgets. Over my career I have seen many different situations. Some good ones where their "tree arrow" was pointing up - and others? Not so much.
I could go on for hours about that.
There is so much political rhetoric floating around these days about green jobs, etc. Planting trees is a way to make real and tangible (vs. rhetorical) improvements in more ways than I can shake a stick at. At the rate were going future generations won't even know what that expression means for the lack of sticks. Is this the kind of world we want?
"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap..."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr