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I recently came across a video segment from the program Stateline on ABC from March 2010 where they discussed the dollar value of trees. This video discusses the following & more:
- The loss of Adelaide’s street & park trees for lack of water
- Melbourne has decided to water their street & park trees
- A real estate agent talking about how both street trees & trees on the property increase the value of the property
- How much trees are actually worth
- What it will be like to live in an area that has few or no trees
- Councils used to irrigate street trees
- Residents used to give trees both on their property & in front of their property regular watering
- The cost of watering trees to save their life far outweighs the cost of losing a tree through lack of water
- How the fact that a tree is not a native somehow gives permission for it to be cut down
- Trees can be worth as much as $100,000
- Trees are assets & investments which appreciate over time
In Melbourne, they are talking about how their 100-year-old trees are “an extremely valuable asset” while Marrickville Council talks about our older trees as “senescent” & past their time. You may remember earlier this year Marrickville Council put up a plan before the Councillors to remove many of the old trees over the next 5 years. The designated amount was 1,000 trees to be removed per year for 5 years targeting senescent trees. Thankfully the Councillors did not accept this Tree Strategy Issues Paper, but it was a close call & a revised Paper will be returning for consideration soon.
This video is 7 minutes duration. I whole-heartedly recommend watching it. If you do, check out the hole in one of the larger trees right at the end. I have seen a
tree like that closer to home along the beachfront at Brighton-le-Sands. A few of the tall pines had substantial holes in their trunks. Rather than chopping them down, Rockdale Council had the rot treated & the hole cemented allowing the tree to remain stable & continue to live for the benefit of the community. I would imagine those trees are heritage listed.
When I was a child, it was quite common for a Tree Surgeon (as Arborists were called then), to be employed to save trees on private property. I remember watching them scrapping out the hole, using chemicals to stop the disease & filling the hole with cement, just like a dentist fills dental caries. I saw trees bolted together if they had a split in their trunk & other such things that seem to be out of vogue today. Nowadays, the simplest intervention seems to be to cut the tree down saying “everything has to die.” True, but many tree species live far longer than what we are led to believe. Melbourne is proof of this.
As we have been in a long & protracted drought that is not over yet, trees dying from lack of water is going to become a significant issue, especially if the culture changes & trees are truly recognised as significant green assets. We may yet return to the days where Councils water the public trees & property owners take care of the trees on their property as well as the tree out front. I have my fingers
crossed. Already around the municipality there are trees dying. Some of them were stunners that now stand brown & present a danger of falling, damaging property & perhaps a risk to life. I find it sad as many of these tree deaths could have been averted if they had been watered.
Another article in the same vein that may be of interest says Adelaide City Council is considering putting a dollar value on its trees following in the footsteps of Melbourne. This may lead to developers being required to compensate for the trees they say they need to chop down by planting trees to that dollar value. So if trees are valued at $100,000, they will be required to plant trees to that value. I’m hoping it may bring business to those tree companies who are skilled at large tree relocation. Relocation costs may actually be cheaper than paying for the trees that would be lost if chopped down.
The Stateline video & a transcript of the main points can be accessed by clicking on the following link- http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/03/26/2857693.htm