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I found a fabulous article by Brian Sewell: My plea to save the London tree -Everywhere the birds are nesting, but still the tree men come — surgeons they dub themselves, but butchers, despoilers, ravagers & rapists are terms that suit far better these barbarians at the garden gate. Mature trees are supposed to be inviolate, protected by preservation orders & even the most necessary & responsible pruning requires the display of notices of intent & consent from local planners, but these often useless safeguards are easily ignored. Last week, to the north of my garden, down came a lofty eucalyptus, & to the south, a spreading Atlantic cedar, but not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, & within minutes they were altogether gone.
And further into the article – Developers fell them to crowd extra houses on a site, supermarkets to accommodate superstores, railways to keep leaves from the lines & local councils for safety reasons that are often absurd. We should cherish them & for every one felled, we should plant two.
There is a photo of the Royal Oak in Richmond Park estimated to age between 700 & 800 years old. This is amazing in itself as Oaks seldom survive past 600 years. The tree has huge split in its trunk that has got to be more than 2 metres long. Amazingly the local Council hasn’t chopped it down. They put a park bench right next to it instead. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23838965-brian-sewell-my-plea-to-save-the-london-tree.do
To Papua New Guinea – An article from The Guardian says – The forests of Papua New Guinea are being chopped down so quickly that more than half its trees could be lost by 2021. Mostly the deforestation is done by multinational logging companies. Satellite imaging has recorded the loss of rainforest since the 1970s. Like many other poorer countries, Papua New Guinea says – rich countries should pay them to protect their forests as a way of tackling climate change. Personally I think this is a good idea & the only fair thing to do. There is quite a strong movement coming from the UN to turn countries into ‘forest guardians’ rather than forest loggers. Papua New Guinea is the home to the world’s 3rd largest tropical forest so their contribution in the management of climate change is significant.
To Canada now where Trees Ontario is about to reach a total of 10 million trees planted in Ontario since 2004. 65 tree planting agency partners & over 2,000 landowners were responsible for planting the trees across the province. The program started in 2004 when Trees Ontario and 2 agency partners planted 42,000 trees in 4 sites throughout the year. The year was so successful many other agencies joined. Six years later 65 agencies are involved, plus landowners.
In August 2007 the Ontario government started the 50 Million Trees program as part of its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province. They plan to achieve this by 2020 just 10 years away. Trees Ontario plans to plant 10 million trees per year by 2015 with the help of the government as part of its 50 Million Trees program. Fantastic stuff. http://www.treesontario.ca/news/index.php/10_million_trees
Madagascar is home to the very precious & protected Rosewood tree. Unfortunately it is being illegally logged almost to extinction for Chinese business, who use the wood primarily to make replicas of antique furniture & musical instruments. You can see furniture made out of this wood in Sydney. Trees with similar grain across Asia have been depleted so the forests of Madagascar are now being targeted. Estimates of the value of Rosewood trees felled over the past 12 months are $167 million or more. Serious money & without serious intervention it is highly likely the Rosewood will be logged to extinction unless people across the world decide on a policy of ethical shopping. It is happening for coffee & chocolate, so why not Rosewood furniture, musical instruments & ornaments? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/africa/25madagascar.html
In the last week of May 2010, 52 nations attended a conference in Oslo & “agreed on a non-binding framework to funnel aid promised by the rich world & set up monitoring standards to ensure money flows are based on solid results. Such frameworks are known as Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Degradation) programmes.”
According to the UN world global deforestation is responsible for more than the CO2 caused by vehicles, trains & planes. Each year forests the equivalent to the size of England are chopped down. tp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/27/oslo-conference-aid-to-save-forests
In May 2010 research led by Professor Corey Bradshaw, of the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute found Australia was ranked as 7th worst in habitat conversion, 9th worst in fertilizer use & 10th worst in natural forest loss taking out overall 9th place of the 10 worst countries for environmental impact. I find this shameful. http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-global-footprint-one-of-the-worst-20100505-uape.html
“…since European colonisation we’ve lost over half of our forests & the ones that remain are largely fragmented, so we have done quite a bit of damage.” said Professor Bradshaw. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/06/2892501.htm
The city of Seattle in the US is making significant changes to their urban agriculture guidelines for 2010, which is also the Year of Urban Agriculture. I think this is of interest here, as world trends are starting to consider food-growing sources should be closer to cities because of transport costs, global warming, pollution & drought. Seattle has a number of items in their guidelines including allowing more community gardens & urban farms in residential areas as well as on the top & sides of buildings (how exciting) & allow up to 8 female chickens per residence. http://cityfruit.org/blog/?p=883
Campus Road Community Garden, a more-than-6,000-square-foot community garden on the grounds of Brooklyn College in New York was to be paved over to make way for the expansion of an athletic field. (How this works I haven’t quite worked out). Instead a Judge blocked Brooklyn College from commencing this work & the case will go before the court on 25th June 2010. Perhaps the community will get to keep their substantial community garden that has operated since 1997.
In Manchester USA insurance company The Cambridge Mutual Fire Insurance Co is suing a Council for negligence. They say the Council Tree Warden & the Council were “negligent & careless because the tree was not inspected & removed before falling” on the home of residents on 6 April 2009. The Council disputes this saying they inspected the tree & arrangements were made to chop it down 2 days before it fell on the house. Now that’s bad luck. http://www.courant.com/community/manchester/hc-manchester-tree-lawsuit-0525-20100524,0,1190967.story
Not quite related, but interesting regardless, a 29 year old woman, who had been living in the Cambodian jungle since 1989 & was rescued in 2007, has escaped her family to return back into the jungle. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/cambodias-jungle-woman-flees-back-to-forest/story-e6freuyi-1225872614220?from=public_rss
I’ll start this post with a clarification concerning the last post Cambridge Street tree axed today. I realised over breakfast this morning that I had generalised when I said, “Once again, regarding the Cambridge Street tree, the Greens voted to keep the tree. Once again, the vote to remove the tree comes from the other counselors.” In fact, with regards to the Cambridge Street tree, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna did not vote, as he was not in attendance at that particular meeting. My apologies to Councillor Hanna.
I have decided to do another post on tree news from around the world. I am assuming you will find it as interesting as I do & it gives us comparisons in which to measure our own Marrickville Council in regards to trees.
I received interest from the UK regarding the last post, where I mentioned that some Australian municipal councils erect billboards in place of trees that have been deliberately vandalised to get better access to a scenic view. Perhaps UK councils are considering using billboards to act as a deterrent to the recent rampant vandalism of trees in their country.
Caitlin from Save Our Figs in Newcastle found the following for me which, though old news, made me roar with laughter. In 1998 Port Stephens Council on the mid-north coast of NSW placed 2 shipping containers on top of each other on a cliff in place of 20 trees that were illegally cut down to gain access to better views of picturesque Boat Harbour. Post Stephens Council also planted saplings to replace the trees & intended to keep the shipping containers in place for 3 years until the saplings reached a decent size. Unsurprisingly, the locals were not amused.
To read the full story complete with photo that I wish I could use, click on the following link. http://www.news.com.au/national/council-blocks-suspected-tree-loppers-view/story-e6frfkwi-1111115863763
News more recent & local: the Cumberland Courier newspaper reported that Hills Shire Council & Castle Hill police are investigating the death of numerous trees on a property in Boundary Road, Box Hill. A grove of 40 year old Gums have died, yet the trees on properties either side are lush & green. The police are involved because they believe the trees were poisoned. It wouldn’t be the first time bush properties have been used for the dumping of chemicals. Causing deliberate harm to trees is called Malicious Damage in police speak & can incur hefty penalties including gaol time if severe enough. You can read the full story here - http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/what-s-killing-box-hill-s-trees/
In Seattle USA, a dozen 50 year old Fir trees both on private & public land were chopped down in the middle of the night to make way for better views. Seattle doesn’t require a permit to chop down trees on private land unless on slopes or along the shore. It calls itself the Emerald City, yet Seattle’s percentage of tree canopy has dropped from 40% in 1972 to 18% currently.
Seattle is trying to regreen the city to the first target of 30% cover. In 1999 the budget for Parks & Recreation was US$250,000. In 2010 it is US750,000 rising to US$1.2 million in 2011. This is serious tree planting money & I would be interested to learn of Marrickville Council’s budget for tree planting. Perhaps it would be fairer to compare the budget for City of Sydney Council instead.
The same article reminds readers of when a senior Seattle Judge was fined US$500,000 after he was found guilty of illegally chopping down 120 trees in a public park below his house. The trees obscured his view of Lake Washington. Can you imagine chopping down 120 trees in the middle of the night? He must have been strong & fit as none of the men I know would be up to this job. No words of his position as a Senior Judge & bastion of society.
The article has other news including links & is well worth reading. You can read it at the following link - http://www.seattlepi.com/local/320177_trees18.html
Tree news is a fairly recent phenomenon. It used to be that only the most profound or shocking tree news was reported, but in recent months a great deal of tree related news is being written in the papers & on the internet. This post is again too long so I will post the second part of recent news soon.