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1. In a shocking case of environmental vandalism, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works chopped down around 250 100-year-old Oak & Sycamore trees across an 11-acre site called the Santa Anita Wash Oak Grove. The trees were razed so they can dump 500,000 cubic yards of silt that they intend to dredge from a nearby reservoir. The community vehemently opposed the destruction of the Santa Anita Wash Oak Grove, but the destruction went ahead as planned & this in a state that prides itself on it’s climate change initiatives. I would have thought that the silt could have been transported to another place to be used rather than destroy a 100-year plus habitat. To see the Santa Anita Wash Oak Grove for yourself, here is a 3.42min YouTube video -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKJ2gEPBEts&feature=player_embedded#! & article - http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-trees-protest-20110113,0,3043421.story
2. We have always known it & now Australian research by Professor Burchett of the University of Technology Sydney has proven it …. pot plants relieve workplace stress. “We found that plants had a very strong wellbeing effect. It was a reduction of a whole lot of negative feelings: anxiety, anger, depression, confusion, fatigue & stress.” Trees are just bigger plants & have much the same benefits. http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/3460853
3. In a bold move by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, 3.5 acres of carpark will be torn up to create an urban wilderness experience & exhibit. What they intend to create by July 2011 is fabulous. I hope this approach becomes commonplace. http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/outdoor-activities/blogs/museum-unpaves-parking-lot-to-create-urban-wilderness
4. Glenn Ridge in New Jersey US has established a new Shade Tree Commission that will oversee the health & well-being of publicly-owned shade trees. I have not heard of this type of body before. The Shade Tree Commission will ensue that the care of public trees is open & transparent & will work with the community via outreach & public forums. http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/111579264_Keep_us_in_the_shade___and_the_sun.html
5. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are in coal tar which is used to seal roads & carparks. Heavy pollution of US streams, ponds & lakes has been tracked to the use of PAH. Everything we use ends up in our riverways or oceans eventually. It’s time we stopped opting for the quick solution & chose more natural non-polluting products. They are available. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19829-organic-pollutants-tracked-down-to-us-parking-lots.html
6. Research by scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research found that deciduous trees absorb about 1/3 more of oxygenated volatile organic compounds & at a faster rate than expected, up to 4 times faster. Oxygenated volatile organic compounds are particularly bad for human health. This is why as many trees as possible need to be planted along our main roads & thoroughfares. http://greenopolis.com/goblog/joe-laur/trees-absorb-more-pollution-previously-thought
7. Scientists from the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow & Landscape in Zurich published research that examined “nearly 9,000 pieces of wood, mostly collected over the past 30 years by archaeologists who use tree rings to establish the age of ancient sites or structures, a technique known as dendrochronology. The result was a continuous – & precisely dated – record of weather in France & Germany going back 2,500 years. The study also showed that climate & catastrophe often line up.” http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/01/fall-of-rome-recorded-in-trees.html?rss=1
8. Green building legislation & initiatives are becoming commonplace in the US with 12 federal agencies & 33 states implementing them despite the recession. In 2008, 156 Councils nationwide had green legislation. By September 2010, 384 Councils have jumped on board. I like this as Australia often follows the US. http://earthandindustry.com/2010/11/despite-recession-u-s-green-building-sector-soars/
9. ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company says they expect CO2 emissions to rise
by nearly 25% in the next 20 years, “in effect dismissing hopes that runaway climate change can be arrested & massive loss of life prevented. According to the UK Met Office, if emissions rises can be stopped by 2020 & then be made to reduce by 1-2% a year, the planet could be expected to warm 2.1C to 3.7 C this century, with the rise continuing even higher after 2100.” The Australian Bureau of Metrology said that ocean temperatures around Australia have already warmed by 1.5 degrees. A warmer ocean means greater evaporation, which leads to higher rainfall. This lesson came via ABC TV on the day of the great flood that hit Brisbane & SE Queensland this past week. I think this is a very important article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/19/exxonmobil-carbon-emissions-rise?CMP=twt_gu
10. Every year the city of Paris has 95 collection points across the city where its citizens can take their unwanted live Christmas tree which are mulched to be used in the city’s parks & gardens. “From 15,000 trees recycled in 2007-2008, the number grew to 27,150 in 2009-2010.” Does Marrickville Council have a collection for Christmas trees? If not, it would be easy enough to copy this initiative wouldn’t it? http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/12/old-christmas-trees-help-other-trees-grow-paris.php
11. Sudden tree death is killing the older trees in the UK. “Already 4 million trees have been felled or marked for destruction.” This is a tragedy. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/8247580/Sudden-death-for-thousands-of-trees.html
12. Friends of the Trees, a volunteer group in Portand have just finished planting their 400,000 tree since the group started 21-years ago. My deepest respect goes to them. http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/01/friends_of_trees_plants_its_40.html
13. In other good news, the Philippines have used Tree Surgeons to successfully heal sick
trees. The emphasis is mine. “Researchers claimed 24 narra trees aged 68 to 73years old were treated after they were on the verge of dying considering that they were described to be landmarks when the construction of the Binga power plant & other facilities commenced in the early 1960s. Seven trees had major treatments using steel bars as mechanical support during the tree surgery while the seventeen others underwent semi-major surgery. Experts claimed tree surgery is the practice of repairing sick & damaged trees to subsequently restore its physical appearance. It is done by removing the injured or deceased parts & treating the same with antiseptics & healing aids & filling the cavities with special materials & cement to fix the surface.” Why does this not happen any more? Or if it does, why do we not hear about it? I know some specialist Arborists look after veteran trees or move trees & care for them like the IKEA Fig, but this kind of work used to be done routinely on suburban trees. Now it seems like if a limb is sick, the whole tree has to come down. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/292102/tree-surgeries-save-benguets-sick-narra
1. The Italians are embarking on the biggest tree planting program in their
modern history by planting 7,000 trees by March 2011 costing €1.65 million. They are doing this in response to a much-criticized pruning operation of the city’s trees & because Rome’s Palm trees are dying because of Red Palm Weevil infection. Thousands of Palm trees have died across Italy since 2004 due to the Asian bug.
“Experts have provided advice on the placing of the trees & their future impact on the city, taking into consideration such factors as the appropriate distance between trees & buildings, their proximity to traffic lights & lamp posts & the suitability & width of pavements along which they will be planted.” Looks like they are planning on keeping the trees by planting the right tree in the right place. http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/news.php?id_n=7527
2. The 6th annual National NeighborWoods Month was held in the US during October. More than 20,000 volunteers planted 35,000 trees in 150 cities across the US.
“The National Wildlife Federation says 60 – 200 million spaces exist along US city streets where trees could be planted. If trees were added in each one, they could absorb 33 million more tons of carbon dioxide annually & save $4 billion in energy costs each year.” It’s great that they are even thinking in this way, as I have not heard the same thoughts concerning street trees in Australia. It would be interesting to have the same calculations done here. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/10/35000-us-trees-planted-october/1
3. Replant South Mississippi is continuing its program of free trees for the community to plant as part of replacing the 300,000 trees killed by Hurricane Katrina. A further 1.5 million trees were damaged by the hurricane. They have given away almost 65,000 free trees since 2006. http://www.sunherald.com/2010/10/24/2579146/free-tree-program-applications.html
4. In a win for a heritage Oak tree, for the community & for the environment, residents of St. Andrews successfully lobbied Bay County in Panama to change its stormwater drainage project plans to save the tree. The Council will now lift the tree & install a stormwater pipe well below the tree’s root system. I didn’t know this could be done. http://www.newsherald.com/news/city-87727-county-tree.html
5. An Orthodox Jewish congregation in Jersey US did something wonderful &
extraordinarily generous to save a historic Teaneck tree by buying the property that the tree lives on to stop the owner from cutting down the tree. They paid US$1.24 million to secure the land to ensure the tree can live out its days. The very rare Teaneck tree (Red Oak) is estimated to be between 250-300 years old. It stands 24 metres tall (80 feet) & has a 61-metre-wide (200 feet) canopy. I repeat, a 61-metre-wide canopy!
I’ve never seen a tree with such a large canopy. If I ever travel to New York, I will be heading out to Jersey to visit this tree. I’ll bet there will be others like me bringing in tree tourism dollars. This story is one I won’t forget in a long time. http://ht.ly/35eAp
6. Britain’s Woodland Trust will be giving away 500,000 free trees in December 2010. “Around 500 communities will benefit from the scheme, receiving either an “acre in a box” of 420 trees to plant on a patch of land, or a collection of 105 trees which will create a smaller woodland across a quarter of an acre.” http://www.formbytimes.co.uk/environment/2010/11/10/half-a-million-trees-to-boost-native-woodlands-66401-27629600/
7. Late last month an 8-year-old collie ‘Belle’ found herself stuck 9 metres (30ft) up a tree during a walk with her owner. She spent almost 6 hours balancing on a small branch before being rescued by the local Fire Service. She must have been chasing a squirrel. Question is, how does a big dog climb 9 metres up a tree? http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2010/10/23/dog-gets-stuck-up-tree-in-cannock-chase-97319-27528916/
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
ABC’s Stateline has another fantastic news item with a 2.25 minute video. The NSW Housing Department has given $30 million for a tree planting program in tree-poor housing estates across Sydney. Boys Town residents will be trained in planting the semi-mature trees & caring for them for the first 12 months. After that, it is hoped the community will take over the care for the trees.
15,000 semi-mature trees (looked to be 4-6 metre) will be planted along 150 kilometres of urban & regional arterial roads, parks & streetscapes. The emphasis is on shade trees that have significant canopies to lessen the heat, help pedestrians & improve the look of bleak areas by creating avenues of trees. The video is interesting viewing. The program is truly remarkable. http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/05/07/2893807.htm
Since April 2010 the community has been protesting development by Delfin Lend Lease at the ADI site Cranebrook. One protester said “Native wildlife gone, native bushland gone, everything is slowly disappearing in front of our eyes.” http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/adi-site-protesters-vow-fight-isn-t-over/
Canberra has lost more than 20,000 public trees over the last 7 years. The removal of a further 1719, mostly Eucalypts commenced this week. For the first time since 2003, trees will be replaced on nature strip. Replacement of street trees stopped due to the drought. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/tree-program-to-remove-hazards/1819743.aspx
Disturbing news for Adelaide’s trees as new rules will make it easier for councils & developers to cut down established trees, raising concerns it will lead to fewer trees in Adelaide’s suburbs. Currently trees with a trunk circumference of 2m, measured at 1m above the natural ground level, are protected as significant. The conservation group, People for Trees is concerned about the implications saying “councils should do more to preserve their trees. They are just leaving trees to just rot, then something happens & they say `we’ll just chop down the tree.” First to go is a River red Gum because fallen branches damaged a car. I ask, why not prune the dying branches before they fall? http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/new-south-australian-rules-the-unkindest-cut-for-established-trees/story-e6frea83-1225858567248
However Councillors in Adelaide’s San Antonio City Council bucked the trend by voting in favor of stricter environmental ordinances, preventing developers from bulldozing trees, preserving current trees & planting trees. http://www.kens5.com/news/More-trees-will-be-preserved-under-environmental-rules-enacted-by-SA-council-93066469.html
The NSW Minister for Climate Change & the Environment, Frank Sartor, has launched a new website to provide information on the proposed changes to River Red Gum forests, wetlands & woodlands. This is a great move. http://www.riverredgums.nsw.gov.au You can read about the launch & more about the web-site & the forests at – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/river-red-gums-website-goes-live/
A lovely article from the University of Richmond in the USA where they are building Robins Stadium, but preserving what is thought to be the oldest tree on campus. The college employed a Tree Surgeon to supervise with digging during construction to ensure no harm came to the tree. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/sports/college/college_football/article/URFB11_20100510-223007/343604/
In NSW, there are stories every week of old & heritage trees in school playgrounds being removed for the building of new halls as part of the Federal government’s stimulus program. Old news being November 2009, but a great example is the loss of 14 mature Box trees planted in 1956 in Lathlain Primary School Perth for construction of classrooms & car parks. There was strong protest from students & parents.
One of the mothers said that a spokesman for the education department turned up and said ‘these trees are going down & there is nothing you can do about it’ before walking off. Then the chainsaws started. The first comment left by Kate of Lathlain provides further details. She writes “…we & our families will be left with the legacy of having to fundraise for air conditioning.” To read about the Lathlain Primary School trees – http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/parents-children-lose-fight-to-save-school-trees/story-e6frg15c-1225796602477 To see the photos of the trees being chopped down -http://www.perthnow.com.au/gallery-e6frg1vc-1225796570712?page=1
Lastly, for pure delight, a 2.54 sec YouTube video of David Attenborough presenting Australia’s unique Lyre Bird imitating the sounds of a camera shutter, a camera with a motor drive, a car alarm & quite horribly, the sound of chainsaws cutting down forest trees. http://bit.ly/8y7tKO
1. The Cumberland Courier reported that Energy Australia is to spend $62 million installing high-voltage power lines between substations at Allambie Heights & Balgowlah to protect endangered tree communities at River Flat Eucalyptus Forest & Duffys Forest Ecological Community & to not damage historic Sloane Crescent Bridge. This is a great thing they are doing. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/power-plan-to-protect-trees/
Pity about what Energy Australia did to the street trees at the Woolworths end of Renwick Street during ‘routine pruning’ last February. People just looked at the trees with their mouth open. As usual, the feeling was “the damage is done & there is nothing we can do about it.”
It is such as shame as we know they can do better. See http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/tree-pruning-planting-practices-compare/ where just last February I complimented Energy Australia for the good pruning they did in Excelsior Parade. Even Renwick Street has different pruning outcomes. The lower end, towards Carrington Road, the street trees were moderately pruned. Some trees that had been almost destroyed during the previous pruning cycle 7-8 years ago were looked after this time. Interestingly, Energy Australia workers did not clear branches below the Optus cables at this end of Renwick Street, whereas up the other end the Optus cables where given a huge clearance. The trees on the corner of Renwick & Excelsior had more than 2/3s of their canopy removed.
2. Brisbane City Council announced they will plant 2 million trees across the city by 2012. This is a fabulous initiative & the community can participate. http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:BASE::pc=PC_2645
Their website http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:BASE::pc=PC_694 says residents can request a street tree be planted & provides a list of suitable trees. Brisbane City Council also say they plant trees which will not interfere with overhead powerlines & that street trees are classified as “valuable Council & community assets” & protected under the Natural Assets Local Law making it an offence to prune, interfere with or remove street trees. Wonderful.
In another lovely initiative, Brisbane City Council has organised Tree Trail. Information & a map of 20 locations can be downloaded highlighting special & significant trees around the CBD. I think this is a terrific idea & believe it would be a boon for tourism. HTTP://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:BASE::pc=PC_936
3. Hornsby Councillor Bruce Mills’ proposal to plant mature trees to create ‘instant boulevards’ was voted in during a March Council Meeting. Residents need to request that their street become a tree-lined boulevard. Councillor Mills says this initiative will be “returning ratepayer funds in a way which adds to their property value.” http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/tree-lined-streets-are-a-reality-in-cherrybrook/
The Boulevard in Dulwich Hill is an excellent local example of a street loved because of its many, large street trees that cascade over the road. Ask any real estate agent & they will tell you this street is sort after with buyers paying more to purchase property here because of the presence of these trees.
The following is a short, but relevant article about trees & property value in America. Adelaide University has assessed the value of trees upwards to 25% of the property’s value in line with Australian property prices as they are more expensive than in the USA. http://www.keeferealestate.com/news/concierge.php?itemid=620
Personally, I would love it if our Council copied the ‘instant boulevard’ idea. Even planting more developed trees would be a step forward as these have a greater chance of surviving. City of Sydney Council planted 200 litre root-ball 4 metre high Simon Poplars along & on the corner of side streets in Glebe Point Road in 2009. All these trees have survived & are growing well. There positive impact was immediate & the area looks greener & prettier for it.
4. City of Sydney Greens Councillor Chris Harris wrote about a proposed cycleway in Johnstons Creek that he says will destroy wildlife habitat. This new 2.5 meter wide cement path starts at Orphan Creek, an woodland & wildlife habitat area in Forest Lodge that was decimated for a similar path in 2009 despite enormous & organised community opposition. What is also disturbing in this article is residents from Minogue Crescent who are directly affected by the new cycleway, were refused permission to address the Councillors during a Council Meeting who ‘voted in a block’ to deny them this opportunity. I would have thought it a right. http://www.chrisharris.org.au/2010/03/10/johnstons-creek-cycleway-on-the-wrong-track/
5. The Daily Telegraph reported that State Forests NSW started woodchip logging in the Mumbulla & Murrah state forests on 29th March 2010 despite this being the last area in SE NSW where the threatened species Koala lives. A group of residents attempting to save the Koala habitat managed to stop logging by getting in the way of loggers. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/tense-stand-off-over-koala-colony/story-e6freuyi-1225847595335?from=public_rss
Koalas are listed as a threatened species & classified as ‘vulnerable.’ From the NSW state governments own web-site – A ‘vulnerable’ species is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances & factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate. Yet, they are taking down forests where Koalas are known to live. I just don’t understand this.
Everyone fell in love with the burnt Koala who was filmed drinking water given by a Fireman during last year’s Victorian bushfires, but we can’t rely on our government to save our national emblem. For more information about this issue including how you can help, go to Nature Conservation Council of NSW http://nccnsw.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3002&Itemid=1
1. It’s with sadness I report another tree has gone from the St Vincent de Paul complex at Lewisham. This time one of the lovely Eucalypts has been removed from the front of The Rectory in Thomas Street. I was told recently that they intend to remove all the Eucalypts in the complex because of dropping branches, which is a crying shame because they all have 2-3 metre plus girths so they will be doing a terrific job at sequestering CO2.
All the Eucalypts are straight growing & as far as I can tell, don’t pose a threat to nearby buildings. Most importantly, they support local wildlife. I witnessed a family of Kookaburras perched in one & was told many birds have made these trees their home.
I don’t understand why a dying branch can’t be pruned. Chopping the whole tree down seems to be overkill. Oh well, less loveliness in the area & more cement.
The locals are extremely unhappy about the removal of this tree & some cried while they watched it being chopped down. I can relate as I could not bear to watch the Stanmore Gum be removed last month as I knew it would be too upsetting.
2. Marrickville Council’s web-site has 2 street trees up for removal. The first in Dixon Street Dulwich Hill is an old Eucalypt. It’s a lovely tree, but it is riddled with borers & if left, will most definitely fall down. I’d guess it to be of the stock that was planted in the early 70s.
The second tree is in Belmore Street Enmore. This tree also has significant & obvious problems. If left, it is likely to drop at least one branch soon. Pruning will not help it as it has deep rot high up in its branches & in parts of its trunk.
Remember this post, because I have agreed 2 trees should be removed.
2 other trees up for removal are in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville. They both have signs on them, but there is no mention of them on Council’s web-site. Why? How many other street trees go this way without notification on Council’s web-site?
3. The Cumberland Courier reported that Ryde City Council has just received a government grant of $97,566 to help protect fauna. This is great news for the significant wildlife corridors between the Lane Cove & Parramatta Rivers. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/funding-to-help-fix-up-habitat-for-our-wildlife/
4. Another Cumberland Courier news item reported that Liverpool Council is calling for suggestions for sites where they should undertake bush regeneration. This will be funded by their environment levy. Liverpool Mayor Waller said they have “funded some 30 bush regeneration projects…planted 147,757 trees & restored about 12.4km of creek line.” Not bad! This is a significant amount of tree planting & will be of major benefit as the years pass & the trees grow. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/help-restore-liverpool-sites-to-their-natural-beauty/
5. The Cumberland Courier reported that Hornsby Council has a problem. Local heritage Bunya trees dropped a 7kg nut through a roof of a resident’s house. They will debate whether to pay for the seasonal removal of the Bunya nuts or chop the trees down.
I know which option I would choose. How many Bunya trees are there in Sydney? A day’s work (maximum) removing the nuts & the community gets to keep important & beautiful trees. Has Hornsby Council ever thought of asking the local Aboriginal people if they would like the nuts? I understand they taste wonderful & are prized bush tucker. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bunya-debate-to-be-heard-by-full-council/
6. The Herald Scotland reported fantastic news that gained international attention & applause. The Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Program has given a grant of 1 million pounds to create 600 acres of new native woodland & 193 acres of productive conifer woodland. The area is the size of 323 international rugby pitches & will be planted out with 450,000 trees that are expected to sequester around 130,000 tonnes of CO2 over 50 years. Interesting also is that Scotland is aiming to become zero carbon producers. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/450-000-trees-set-to-be-planted-in-woodland-scheme-1.1006809
7. The UN’s Billion Tree Campaign released its achievements saying that, by the end of 2009, participants in 170 countries had planted 7.4 billion trees (not a typo) This gives me hope for the future. http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/
8. Residents in Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor USA came out & stopped the power company ITC Holdings Corp from chopping down several 25 year old trees which were within 10 metres of power lines. The residents sought & were granted a restraining order against the company until a court hearing on 24 February 2010. Interesting reading & commendable commitment from residents. http://www.annarbor.com/news/pittsfield-township-homeowners-block-power-companys-attempts-to-cut-trees-today/
9. A letter was published in the Pub Beaufort Island Gazette, Hilton Head Island USA refuting the local airport’s stance that they need to chop down 1,400 trees on airport property & another 983 trees on private property supposedly for safety of planes. However, removing these trees will seriously affect noise control & the area is a Bald Eagle habitat amongst other issues. phttp://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/letters/story/1135750.html
10. If we lived in Portland Oregon, we would have the opportunity to be involved in their City-Wide Tree Project, which is deciding on regulations for trees to complement their urban forestry plan. Portland is making the news a lot recently because they have officially recognised the benefits of street trees & have recently proven that property values increase significantly when there is a healthy street tree out front. They calculate the benefit of a street tree at US$7,000 citing this is the cost of a new bathroom. Try seeing what you get for that kind of money here! House prices in Portland are also significantly cheaper than in Sydney.
Portland plans to increase their tree canopy by 50,000 street trees & 33,000 garden trees by 2015 (again, not a typo) to improve the lives of citizens & wildlife as well as help combat the effects of global warming. This is quite different form the recent recommendation in a Marrickville Council report to councillors to remove 1,000 street trees a year for the next 5 years. The report did propose to replace them with saplings, but how beneficial this will be is questionable as it says most do not survive. http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2010/02/street_trees_increase_home_val.html
11. To end, Thornlie (Perth) man Richard Pennicuik is still sitting up in the street tree out front of his house after commencing his protest on 5th December 09 to stop Gosling Council from removing the street trees. Judging by comments on internet-based reports about him, views about his protest are polarized. Some think he is a hero. Others are filled with hatred toward him. Strange that people would be so abusive toward someone they don’t know & whose actions have zilch effect on them. Me, I admire him & wish him success.
In Kansas the energy supplier Westar wants to remove 12 trees from a city park. Work has been delayed while city officials take a tour to see if there is another solution. The energy company has to explain to city officials why they need to remove these mature trees. Read this article here -
I thought this article was interesting when comparing our own energy companies in Australia who, as I understand it, have carte blanche over both private & public trees if they consider them impeding electricity cables.
I remember being astounded that the stumps of large mature Elm trees, which were chopped down by Energy Australia in Salisbury Road Camperdown mid 2009, were left for Marrickville Council to remove. Not only had the community lost several mature & very beautiful trees, but we also had to pay for the stump removal as well. So, for the equivalent of a municipal council in America having the power to require the manager of Customer & Community Relations to give good reason why 12 public trees needed to be cut down is very interesting & highlights the difference in community attitudes towards public trees.
I sincerely believe that, if the Australian community & elected officials seriously challenged the way street trees are pruned for cables, our power companies would make changes. Power is no longer a monopoly & they are hungry for our business. I know because energy providers knock on our front door several times a year to try to lock us into a contact with them.
Staying with energy providers, Tucson Electric Power in Tucson Arizona USA are offering their customers up to 4 shade trees for US$8 to help lower their energy use costs. Recipients of the trees are given instructions as to where on their property they should plant the trees to best help save energy. Some of the saplings are 160 cm tall. People whose homes were built 1980 & later are allowed 2 trees while houses built earlier can get 4 trees. That’s US$2 per tree & if it were offered for the Inner West, it would mean 4 trees for most of us. Tucson Electric Power has understood the value of trees because they started this program in 1993 (wow) & have distributed 50,000 trees to date. It is something I think our energy providers could do well to copy & would go along way to improving their image. To read the article click on the following – http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=11841260
In San Francisco USA a group called Friends of the Urban Forest have set up a program where for US$75 you can have tree planted wherever you want on the footpath provided there are no utilities underneath which would be adversely affected by digging. I don’t know whether Friends of the Urban Forest is a community group, part of council or a partnership between both. Regardless, what a wonderful program. The right trees get planted in the right places & all the support & education needed is provided & the community has a say. As far as I can gather, in America generally the saplings they plant are 1.8 to 3 metres tall & quite established.
Imagine if a person like myself had a million dollars to spare. I could go crazy pointing to all the barren, cemented places along our streets & by the time I run out of money 13,333 trees would have been added to our LGA with US$25 left over to spend on whatever. It’s a pleasant dream. To read about this wonderful program, click on the following link – http://mergy.org/2010/01/09/simple-summary-of-getting-a-tree-with-fuf/
Reading the latest edition of Marrickville Matters clearly shows that Marrickville Council, which has a reputation for being a green council, (programs not political parties) is actually becoming greener. Council is clear in its belief in climate change & is encouraging the community to make changes & become involved to help the climate. Marrickville Council already has quite a number of environmental programs that encourage the community to become involved. They are Stream Watch, Marrickville Landcare Group, Friends of the Cooks River Valley garden, Friends of Camperdown Cemetery, Marrickville Community Nursery & participation in National Tree day & Clean Up Australia Day.
Because I am obsessed with trees & very concerned about the impacts of climate change, I’ve been thinking of ways to get more trees planted in our LGA. Not only more trees, but trees planted in the right places, where there is no need for Energy Australia to touch them, because I think it is very important for our LGA to have more tall trees with a natural canopy. I also believe every community needs to be encouraged & supported to plant trees. However, it’s all well & good to think of methods, but these cost money, so Council needs to be financially supported to plant more trees beyond the allowance which comes out of our rates payment.
I have listed a number of ideas some of which are already implemented over-seas while others appear to have come from the deep recesses of my own mind. I have been very brief & have not addressed potential problems such as vandalism. I am interested to know what you think. If there is sufficient positive response I will send them to Marrickville Council to see if they would be interested in implementing one or more of them….in time….when they are able….
ADOPT A TREE
Today I discovered a charity where one could ‘adopt a word’ for the cost of around A$50. This was a surprisingly brilliant idea by some creative person. It is quite successful & people are buying words. If people enthusiastically embrace a program where they get a word, imagine how much more fulfilling it would be to adopt a living, breathing, beautiful green tree, which you & your family could watch grow over the years & hopefully the generations. For me to buy a word, I would have to want to support the charity. But to buy a tree would require no other particular reason & is far more tangible than a word. Maybe others in our community would feel the same.
Council can generate further funds to plant trees by establishing an ‘Adopt a Tree’ program. This could allow Council to plant a greater number of trees within the LGA. The money may allow Council to plant larger saplings, as they do in New York City, which will give the trees a better chance of survival. A ceremony inviting all the ‘Adopters’ could be held & a plaque could be put in place. I think that programs like this would support councils financially & would allow the establishment of small urban forests.
Council could provide a certificate of ‘ownership’ of the tree, giving details of the tree species, interesting facts about the particular tree, estimates about how much CO2 the tree sequesters annually as its trunk grows & the location where it was planted. The cost of this could be factored in to the cost of adopting a tree.
‘Adopters’ could be encouraged to look after the tree while it is very young & until it is established. An instructional pamphlet can be part of the package. I can quite easily imagine a family taking a walk to water their new sapling or schools doing the same.
GIFTS CERTIFICATE FOR A TREE
We can go to a nursery to buy a tree for someone as a present, but imagine if we could buy a public tree from Council. Council could plant the tree for us or hold regular planting days when we each plant our own tree. This program could be similar as adopting a tree with certificates of ownership as already discussed.
CELEBRATING MAJOR DATES OF MARRICKVILLE SUBURBS WITHIN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA BY PLANTING AN AVENUE OR A GROVE OF TREES
There must be landmark dates that Council could promote to encourage the community to participate in the planting of a grove of trees. Council could be more formal by planting a Commemorative Avenue of trees. Speeches go well with events like these as does school involvement, burying a time capsule, laying a Foundation Stone etc. These dates could increase a sense of belonging & pride in our community.
I have written down other ideas, but to keep the size of this post reasonable, I will post Part 2 in a couple of days if there is nothing more important to report.