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Lovely to see street trees planted so closely together

Concrete removed and new street trees in Calvert Street.  You can see two other new trees across the road.

Calvert Street Marrickville would be considered a street that has “enough” street trees when comparing with many other streets in the former Marrickville LGA.   Therefore, I was really happy to drive down this street earlier this week & see lots of substantial-sized newly planted street trees.  I was with a friend who is an Arborist & between us there were lots of exclamations like “ooohs,” “wow” & “look at that.”   Being keen on trees makes one get excited by things like this.  🙂

Today I went back on my bicycle to have a closer look & was pleased with what I saw.   Inner West Council has depaved sections of the footpath on both sides of the street & planted street trees in places where there were none for at least two decades, but likely much longer.

Council planted 27-28 new trees to fill in gaps & to add in places where they tend to leave empty.

Calvert Street looks so much better for these new trees.  In 7-10 years, the residents will be really benefiting from the greening of their street.

The community will also benefit as Calvert Street will be much more pleasant for pedestrians.   Being a street off ‘Town Centre,’ plenty of people walk this street to get to & from the shops.

New street tree plantings in Calvert Street have a history of being vandalised, so I am very pleased that Council did not capitulate to the vandal & continued to plant street trees.  None of the new trees have been vandalised that I could see, so perhaps the vandal has given up, got educated, developed a social conscience or moved on.  Any of these is a win for the community.

There seems to be a change this year in where trees are being planted & with the density of planting, which I think is wonderful.

If the Inner West Council’s plan is to plant all our streets like this our urban forest canopy will increase & so will this community’s health & quality of life.   There will be less respiratory diseases, such as asthma & less heart disease with fatal heart attack.

Trees help lower stress & help depressed people feel happier.  Trees also lower crime rates, lower noise pollution, act as a wind buffer & help catch stormwater.  Powerbills should drop significantly, as will the urban heat island effect.  Trees also sequester CO2 making them a vital component in mitigating climate change.

These are just some of the benefits trees provide for residents.  There is no doubt that trees make streets nicer & healthier places to live.  Shade is a valuable amenity these days.

New trees wherever there is a space.  Also depaving and plants added around the trees.  This always improves a streetscape.

Even adding more trees in areas where in the past, one was seen to be enough. Great to see so much concrete removed too.

 

 

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I love this oak tree that lives in a Marrickville back garden. The owner planted it 80 plus years ago and the whole family loves it.   It is bare for winter, but come spring, the wonderful vibrant green eaves transform this tree and the surrounding neighbourhood.

I am back.  I disappeared for a while.  My husband was in hospital twice & it has been a hectic time.   Lots has happened locally, but I did not have the time to focus.  He is home now, so now I can concentrate on trees & the local environment again.   Thanks to all who continued to come to see if I had written anything.

A resident sent me a Facebook post from Mayor Darcy Byrne who wants to make it easier for private trees to be removed if the resident feels it is posing a risk to safety or damaging their property.   See – https://www.facebook.com/byrne.darcy/videos/1797985483610673/

The Mayor says that the state government has changed the law to prevent Councillors from voting on tree applications “so officers who make the decisions have a lot of power.”  I presume this refers to Council Officers.  I always thought the Councillors had a lot of power to decide the fate of trees in the municipality.  I saw that if they were not tree-people, there was very little chance of them voting to retain a tree that was on the agenda of council meetings.

In this Facebook post Mayor Byrne repeatedly refers to replacing the trees & says he wants to increase the urban canopy.    This is good.

Saving Our Trees blog does not focus on private trees.  Public trees are more than enough work for one person to concentrate on.

I have always felt sorry for residents who have spoken to me about problem trees on their property & how hard it is to get permission to remove them.  It is a difficult subject because most of the ground to create a viable urban forest is private land.

The NSW government created the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code in 2014.  This Code allowed landowners to chop down trees on their property within 10-metres of a home & clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs on their property within 50-metres of their home, without a permit.  As a result, many of the leafy suburbs in Sydney lost a great percentage of their urban forest.  Many of the trees removed were significant, both in terms of visibility & were landmark trees & in providing homes & food for wildlife.   Trees removed were often not within the permitted area for tree removal.   There was an uproar in the community, the NSW Liberal government knew what was happening & gave notice of 18-months before they would change this law.  As a result, there was a rush to get trees chopped down.

Pittwater Council, Manly Council & Warringah Council fought the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Code to prevent further tree loss, as they believed trees were being removed to make way for development, to enhance views, especially water views & that many trees were not being removed because they presented a fire risk.

I think this period of time showed that people will remove trees when they get the opportunity & there are many in Sydney who dislike trees.  This is of huge concern with rising temperatures due to climate change.  Wildlife is already in serious trouble because of a lack of habitat & food. We need a culture change in the way we regard trees.

I restate that I do believe that some trees are not appropriate for the spaces they have been planted, but I also believe this needs to be decided by Council.   So, I hope if the Mayor’s planned changes get through, that our community does not further decimate what is in reality a poor urban forest.

I also have concerns about what tree species will replace what is removed.  If you remove a gum tree & replace with a Crepe Myrtle for example.  I feel the same about the species choices for public trees as well.  I hope that Council insists that replacement trees offer amenity & help wildlife.

Labeling trees as ‘dangerous’ is also a problem.  Yes, people do get hurt or killed by trees, but it is a very small percentage.  Yet every day we get into cars & the statistics for people getting hurt or killed by vehicles is massive.  We ignore that & focus on trees.

Trees are useful to us.  They provide shade & oxygen for us to breathe.  They clean the air of pollution, especially particulate matter from vehicles.  A view of trees helps kids learn & all of us recover faster from illness.

To be amongst trees makes us feel peaceful & helps lift depression & calms anxiety. Trees sequester carbon & help mitigate climate change.   One tree can cool the air as much as ten residential air conditioners operating 20-hours a day & they do this silently & without using electricity.

Trees drop the cost of power, act as wind breaks & block off sound.  They also reduce storm water runoff, slow down cars & lower crime.

Shopping areas with lots of leafy trees have been shown to increase shopper spending by 11%.  They also raise property values, so there is a monetary reason to keep them & a monetary benefit to plant them.

Trees are great.   They keep us alive, keep us feeling good & work to improve our health.  Living in an area with few trees mean that the beauty that trees provide is not present.  Streets are also hot & birdsong is sparse.  Even if you think it is okay to be without trees, you are actually missing out on many proven benefits to your mental, emotional & physical health.

A lovely fig trees in Marrickville Golf Course.

Every year, between 3 & 4 million people around the world die as a result of air pollution & its lifelong impacts on human health, from asthma to cardiac disease to strokes.  

Each summer, thousands of unnecessary deaths result from heat waves in urban areas. Studies have shown that trees are a cost-effective solution for both of these challenges. 

And too often, the presence or absence of urban nature – & its myriad benefits – is tied to a neighbourhood’s income level, resulting in dramatic health inequities.  In some American cities, life expectations in different neighbourhoods, located just a few miles apart, can differ by as much as a decade.  Not all of this health disparity is connected to tree cover, but researchers are increasingly finding that neighbourhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes, so inequity in access to urban nature makes worse health inequities.”  ~ The Nature Conservancy 2017.

The report may have been about America’s urban forest, but it makes no difference.  The findings are useful world-wide, including our little patch in Sydney’s Inner West.

In my assessment the quality of the urban forest & the canopy cover of the former Marrickville municipality has not changed since the 2014 report, ‘Benchmarking Australia’s Urban Tree Canopy: An i–Tree Assessment, Final Report.’

Now we are amalgamated with Ashfield & Leichhardt municipalities, their urban forest becomes our concern & visa versa.  In 2014 the three municipalities scored the following –

Leichhardt was the winner with a 20.3% tree canopy & 59.8% hard surfaces.

Ashfield won second place with a 19.8% tree cover & 57.4% hard surfaces.

Marrickville came last with an abysmal 16.3% tree canopy & 63.4% hard surfaces.

This is not to say Inner West Council – Marrickville are not planting trees.  They are. They reported that they planted 1,000 street trees across the three former municipalities, which I think is not much & not nearly what is needed.   Council also removes trees.  Development is having an impact on the canopy & so is vandalism.  WestConnex is having a massive impact on tree removal along its above ground route.

I am not familiar with Ashfield, but having lived in the Inner West for the past 40-years, I am familiar with many of the streetscapes across the former Leichhardt & Marrickville municipalities.   I look at street trees that have been there for more than my 40-years & this is a great thing to see.  I am one of those people who love to look at trees.  They make me feel comfortable.  Treeless landscapes or skylines make me feel flat & oppressed.   Recent research has found my response is normal.  The research found that few trees in the landscape results in greater rates of depression & kids finding it hard to learn & retain information amongst other things.

My wish for 2018 is for the Inner West Council to significantly increase funding for street trees, parks & other green spaces.   If our area is to be made greener & healthier for us, then the number of street trees & park trees planted need to increase substantially.   More trees please.

It takes at least a decade for most trees to grow to a size where they have a visual impact, so if we are to get the amenity from trees like shade & clean air, then we need to get trees into the ground as soon as possible.    I say “most” because I have seen how fast a Poplar takes to reach a significant height.  These trees grow so fast you can almost watch it happen.

No-one can deny that it is hard being out on the streets in this hot summer weather.  I’ve been out most days & noticed that a lot of people are not coming out of their homes until 4pm or later due to the heat & lack of shade.

We in the community need to do our bit too.  We need to plant a tree or shrub in our garden if we have the space to do so.  We also need to make concrete gardens a thing of the past & give stamped concrete driveways the flick too.  These only make our house hotter & we pay higher power bills as a result.

I was very impressed with Inner West Council – Marrickville’s free tree giveaway for 2016-2017. It is a terrific initiative & will build upon the urban forest.  I hope the tree giveaway becomes a regular feature for National Tree Day.

Community attitudes toward trees are changing.  I have noticed more people like & want public trees compared to when I started this blog in 2009, which is  great & something Council should capitalise on.

With climate change making our seasons hotter, we need to make the changes that will cool down our streets & public spaces & planting trees is a major way to achieve this.  Plus, trees are beautiful & soften the landscape.  They make us feel good even when we are not aware of this.  They help keep us healthy & happy & they bring in more wildlife.    So, let’s make 2018 the year of tree awareness & get more trees in the ground.

Happy New Year.  I hope this is an excellent year for you & your loved ones.  Thank you for reading.  I appreciate it.  Jacqueline 🙂

Council did well to plant a gum tree here in this perfect place on Myrtle Street Marrickville, but someone did not think so.  It was vandalised 3 times….until it was dead. Thanks – not.

 

 

BEFORE: Google street view of the tree that was removed. This image is a few years old, perhaps a decade. The tree was much taller, with a much larger trunk & a bigger canopy.

AFTER:  Photo taken today after all branches were removed. The top of the trunk is higher than I can reach.

What is wrong with people?   Late last week a mature Bottlebrush tree outside 89 Warren Road was unceremoniously chopped to nothing, but a trunk.   It looks awful.  It is one less tree in this street.  It also is a waste of rate-payers’ money & a waste of Council’s work.

This vandalism has robbed the community of all the benefits this tree was providing.  It was more than 20-years-old.   Local people have contacted me about this tree & they feel furious that the tree has been destroyed & they want the Inner West Council to replace it as fast as possible.

Some facts about the value of trees to help any vandal who may happen to read this realise that their actions actually have a bigger negative impact than just losing a tree –

  • A good street tree can add 30% to your property value.
  • A street full of good leafy street trees is a real estate agent’s pleasure because all houses will sell for more than the same kind of house in the same kind of condition in a street that does not have street trees, or has poor quality street trees.
  • Street trees provide a buffer from traffic & collect particulate matter pollution from passing vehicles.  Without this buffer, that particulate matter pollution is much more likely to reach your lungs.
  • Particulate matter causes lung irritation, respiratory illnesses & impairs airway function. It also can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attacks & premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  It also collects on buildings.
  • The shade of a tree can reduce air temperature by 1 – 8 degrees Celsius.
  • The canopy acts as a buffer for wind & can reduce wind speed by 10%.
  • A street tree can save up to $400 on your annual power bill.
  • Trees are nature’s air conditioners & they cool down surface heat & lower the urban heat island effect.
  • Trees also sequester CO2 & produce oxygen.
  • They help capture stormwater.
  • Trees provide habitat & food for wildlife.
  • People are happier when in leafy green streets. Since we have very little green space (the former Marrickville LGA had the least green space in Australia), the streets and the street trees are our green space, aside from parks.
  • People are happier & have less depression when able to be around trees.

So well done.  This is a busy street with both pedestrians & vehicle movement.  It’s hot walking around there.  The locals are angry with you.  You did not enrich the streetscape.  Instead, you destroyed part of it & this is a terrible way to treat both the tree & the community to whom that tree belonged.

What is left.

Last week Los Angeles broke a temperature record held for 131-years reaching 36.6°C (98°F).  Sydney people might laugh responding with, “It’s a good day for the beach,” but Los Angeles has an average daily temperature of 22°C (71°F), so this was an extremely hot day for them.

Los Angeles temperatures like this are expected to triple by 2050 & so the City has set a target of lowering the urban heat island effect by three degrees by 2035.  “According to CalEPA, LA has the worst urban heat island effect of any region in California.”

“Excessive heat is deadly. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, difficulty breathing, cramping and general discomfort killed more people between 1979 and 2003 than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.”  See – http://bit.ly/2ucsUE9

Los Angeles is one of only two cities in the world who have a temperature reduction target to reduce their urban heat island effect.  The other is Melbourne.

Los Angeles plans to do the urban heat island effect by –

  • Gradually replacing roofs with reflective materials, called ‘cool roofs.’
  • Repave or repaint city streets with reflective paint.
  • Plant more trees & increase the urban forest canopy. However, they did not mention using green walls & green roofs.  Perhaps these are seen as more transient & risky compared to solid hard surfaces such as albedo paint & tiles.

It all seems elementary & doable, which offers real hope.

The city aims to install 10,000 cool roofs by the end of this year – 2017.

“Beginning in 2014, LA has had a “cool roofs” ordinance, which requires anyone building a new roof or replacing more than half of an existing roof to do so with reflective shingles.”  I wonder if the Inner West Council has any green requirements like these for any new developments or roof replacements.  The former Marrickville Council did not when The Revolution building in Marrickville was built around 2012.  At a public meeting about the building the architect said that there was no requirement to add green features, so he did not.

After a trial of painting one city street in May 2017, the City of LA has painted 7 other blocks & aim to paint a block in all 15 council districts by the end of the summer.  They obviously mean business.

In March 2016 the former Marrickville Council did a trial of solar reflecting road surface paint in Cecilia Street Marrickville.   I have no idea whether Council has released information regarding the results. See – http://bit.ly/1Pyexc7

The City of LA also has a cool pavement program, aiming to have the urban heat island effect lowered by shade from street trees.  So, less heat, better health, more beauty & more happiness.  That is excellent in my opinion.

The building on the left is a relatively new development on Unwins Bridge Road St Peters. Many in the community were upset at the DA stage because of the trees that were to be removed. The DA was approved and the building built. I passed by recently was pleasantly surprised to see 4 good sized trees had been planted in Dabur Lane as part of the development. These are not token shrubs for landscaping, which is what we often see in new developments. Once grown these trees will help provide shade & supply the beauty & other benefits that only trees can offer.

One of two new Sydney red gums. The shade from these two trees, once they have grown, is expected to cover “at least three-quarters of the car park.”  

This area is permeable paving, yet people can walk on it without experiencing problems or noticing a difference.

I was impressed when I read that the Inner West Council had planted two advanced size Sydney Red Gums (Angophora costata) at the Garners Avenue car park in Marrickville as part of an upgrade.

Council Administrator Mr Pearson said in Council’s Press Release, “When mature, these trees will provide canopy cover to at least three-quarters of the carpark.  So, instead of the usual unshaded bitumen and concrete which would increase the inner west’s ‘urban heat island effect,’ we are actually contributing shade, cooler ambient air temperatures, and improved urban air quality.”  

Council’s Press Release makes mention that shade not only increases amenity, but also increases “the serviceable life of the bitumen by up to 30%.”   

The trees were planted in structural vaults, which on the surface look like business as usual, but are actually purpose built to provide optimum living conditions for a tree planted in unnatural conditions.

The surface is covered by permeable paving allowing rainwater to get to the tree.  Below ground, the area for the tree to grow has been prepared by placing good-quality soil in structural cells across a large area.  The structural cells provide room for the roots to grow, but also encourages them to grow in preferred directions.

Better soil, access to water & room to spread allows the tree grow to maturity.   This technique is light years better than digging a hole in the pavement & planting a tree.  It is well worth the money Council needs to spend on this planting style.

Council’s Press Release (http://bit.ly/2qwAt49 ) made many favourable statements regarding public trees.  It appears we can expect to see a positive change in our urban forest.

“Trees usually come second to infrastructure such as footpaths, roads and car parks. But Inner West Council is determined to turn this thinking around.”

I visited the Garners Street carpark & saw the two Sydney red gums.  They look great.  The flowers from these trees will provide food for bees, butterflies & nectar-eating birds.

I was also impressed to see three new Banksias planted in a small garden area toward the back of the car park.

Two other good sized Diamond leaf pittosporum (Auranticarpa rhombifolia) growing on the other side are festooned with orange berries at present.  These are Australian native rainforest trees & their orange berries attract fruit-eating birds.

The addition of Australian native trees that can grow to a significant size is a big & positive change from the current Purple Leaf Ornamental Plum (Prunus nigra) & Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) planted at the front of the car park.

I like what Inner West Council have done here.  Give the trees a few years to grow & the difference will be noticeable.  The more Council can plant decent sized native trees in areas traditionally covered with concrete & bitumen the better.  Changes like this will have positive impacts on the livability of our area.   I thank Council for doing this work.

New planting of three Banksias and other plants.

Diamond Leaf pittosporums looking great with all those orange berries.

Garners Street car park Marrickville as it looks from the street.

 

Ausgrid pruning of street trees in Fotheringham Street Enmore last week.   Photo by Catherine Bakker‎ and used with thanks.

Ausgrid pruning of street trees in Fotheringham Street Enmore last week. Photo by Catherine Bakker‎ and used with thanks.

More Ausgrid pruning of street trees in Fotheringham Street Enmore last week.  Photo by Catherine Bakker‎ and used with thanks.

More Ausgrid pruning of street trees in Fotheringham Street Enmore last week. Photo by Catherine Bakker‎ and used with thanks.

The Inner West Council said in a press release dated 18th January 2017 that they are negotiating with power company Ausgrid to pay the costs of removing trees damaged by Ausgrid’s pruning & the planting of replacement trees.

The press release says  –

  • Council are “targeting the replanting of trees damaged by tree trimming in many inner west streets.”
  • “Council officers have been working with Ausgrid officers to nominate selected trees that should be replaced.”
  • “Ausgrid has agreed to assess and mostly likely approve the removal of these trees.”

While I am glad that Council are negotiating to have Ausgrid pay for the removal & replacement of the trees they have decimated by their pruning, I have some trepidation wondering just how many of our street trees will need to be removed.   If you look at the state of the street trees around the former Marrickville municipality, you will see that the numbers will not be insignificant.

Ausgrid have created an unnecessary loss of the urban forest & one which will have an negative impact on the community in terms of heat, pollution, stormwater management & the mental/physical health of the community, not to mention the cost to wildlife who possibly lose their homes & food source.

There has been a lot of research published recently that found that street trees provide numerous benefits to human health.  The lack of a good urban forest causes problems such as increased obesity, more respiratory & heart disease, more fatal heart attacks & the latest, more incidence of dementia.  Also, a poor urban forest is known to increase unhappiness & depression in the community & poorer learning in children.

Therefore, it is not a small impact to the community by Ausgrid when they pruned our street trees to such a degree that council thinks the trees will never recover & need to be removed.  It takes years for trees to grow to a point where they are providing viable benefits to the community, so all the health problems listed above are another impact caused by Ausgrid.

There are other tree losses that are not covered by this negotiation with Ausgrid by Council.  Just in my block one mature tree in a front garden was removed because Ausgrid removed one whole side of the tree leaving an unsightly half a tree behind. It is not only street trees that have been negatively impacted.

I applaud the Inner West Council for pursuing this action with Ausgrid.
Council is also looking at an aerial bundle cabling program, which is wonderful.  Take a look at the streets in the Botany area to see what the difference can mean to street trees.  Ausgrid will not need to prune so harshly if there is aerial bundle cabling installed.  It is a much better option than ordinary powerlines, though not as good as installing powerlines underground.  The last option is more expensive, but should be a condition for all new developments in my opinion.

Council in lobbying Ausgrid to develop an Inner West Guideline for tree pruning “sympathetic to our urban metropolitan environment – an area that is not fire prone.”

This is also a great move by Council.
Further in the press release – “The recent discussions with Ausgrid comes after Council late last year received a commitment from Ausgrid that their tree trimming contractors will continue to reduce the cutback they carry out on local street trees to achieve a safe clearance from power lines.  New contractors are now being directed to cut a reduced clearance of just 1 metre from low voltage wires, plus up to 0.5 metre for regrowth for a maximum of 1.5 metres in total resulting in a much improved result for local street trees than previous more radical pruning.”

Then why are Ausgrid, just in the last week, pruning way below the telecommunications cable?  The photos I posted in this post of trees in Fotherington Street Enmore & Renwick Street Marrickville are January 2017 examples of the new improved pruning from Ausgrid.  Sorry, but this was not the norm when Energy Australia did the street tree pruning.

The street trees in Renwick Street Marrickville were pruned last week.

The street trees in Renwick Street Marrickville were pruned by Ausgrid last week.  This is not “trimming.”

More examples of street tree pruning by Ausgrid in street trees in Renwick Street Marrickville

More examples of street tree pruning by Ausgrid in street trees in Renwick Street Marrickville.  

This poor tree has been vandalised at least three times since the tree was planted in 2015.   Council did put up a small sign saying that it had been vandalised, but this was not a deterrent.

This poor tree has been vandalised at least three times since the tree was planted in 2015. Council did put up a small sign saying that it had been vandalised, but this was not a deterrent.

The Inner West Council planted a street tree in a pocket of grass in Myrtle Street Marrickville.  A tree was much needed at this location because it is bare & dare I say ugly.

I was very happy they planted at this location.  Then the tree had several branches snapped off.   The tree grew more branches & the tree was vandalised again.  I started to doubt that this was a random act.

The tree’s desire to live was strong, so it grew some more & started to look strong & lush.

I went by the tree today & its leaves are dry & crisp.  Its thin branches are still alive showing that whatever was done to this poor tree happened recently.

Unfortunately, this tree is dying.  To me it appears that some sort of chemical was fed to it to make sure this determined tree would not rise up again.

It is beyond my comprehension why people rob the community & the wildlife of street trees.   One tree may not matter much, but we have an urban forest classified as ‘poor’ in terms of percentage of canopy cover.  We need trees just to break even in terms of the norm in Sydney.  We also need trees for good public health & we desperately need trees in terms of climate change.

We need more trees in Marrickville & throughout the old Marrickville municipality.  We need bigger, more shade-producing trees.

2016 was the third year in a row of record-breaking heat.  “The average global temperature last year [2016] reached about 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era, which has brought us extremely close to the 1.5°C target established at the historical December 2015 Paris climate summit.”

1.1°C may not seem much, but you only have to have been in Sydney this past month to experience what a heatwave feels like.  Heatwaves & extreme weather events are all part of this global rise in temperature.  The Arctic is the warmest on record, sea ice is melting at alarming speed, coral reefs are bleaching, the oceans are heating up….  There is more, but you get the picture.

Now here is where is gets really interesting.   “Australia is especially at risk as we are 8°C hotter than the world average” http://bit.ly/2kfCKAD

We cannot keep relying on air-conditioning.  One day there will be too many of us using too much power for the system to cope with & we won’t be able to turn on the air-con.  Then people will die.  Perhaps thousands of people.  Death in numbers like this has happened many times before.

We won’t be able to easily acclimatise to the heat either.   The following is part of a summary of research titled, ‘Limitations to Thermoregulation and Acclimatization Challenge Human Adaptation to Global Warming’ published in 2015.   They knew then that it will be difficult for the human race to adapt.   Thousands of us are likely to die in each heatwave event.  That will be a devastating experience for many.

Human thermoregulation and acclimatization are core components of the human coping mechanism for withstanding variations in environmental heat exposure. Amidst growing recognition that curtailing global warming to less than two degrees is becoming increasing improbable, human survival will require increasing reliance on these mechanisms. The projected several fold increase in extreme heat events suggests we need to recalibrate health protection policies and ratchet up adaptation efforts.”   You can read the whole paper here for free – http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/7/8034

I hope the Inner West Council plant another tree at this location.   Tree vandals cannot be the deciders on how the rest of the community live, their health, the level of pollution they live with, their ability to have a beautiful suburb, how cool their streets are or whether the wildlife can have habitat & food.  The culture must change.  The streets belong to all.

As I post this I am listening to the weather forecast on the TV news.  They are forecasting a heatwave two days from now on Tuesday.   That will be the third heatwave for Sydney in 2017 & it is only January.

Wonderful that Marrickville council planted  Queensland Brushbox trees along the Princes Highway Tempe.  Once grown they should help all the residents living close to the highway.

Wonderful that Marrickville council planted Queensland Brushbox trees along the Princes Highway Tempe. Once grown they should help the workers in the shops and all the residents living close to the highway.

Researchers from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research at the University of Sydney have released their review into the health impact of tiny air pollution particles, also known as particulate matter.  They found that most particulate matter is man-made & “could lead to increase in people reporting to hospitals with respiratory or cardiovascular effects.”

This supports 2010 research done by the US Health Effects Institute who reviewed 700 worldwide health-pollution studies. They found:

  • traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare is likely to exacerbate asthma in children.
  • trigger new asthma cases across all ages
  • impair lung function in adults &
  • could cause cardiovascular illness & death. See – http://bit.ly/1MKStR8

The researchers from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research recommended that immediate steps be taken to reduce particulate matter pollution from the air.  Although particulate matter can come from plant & animal matter, the majority comes from motor vehicles, mining, power stations & even coal fire barbeques & wood heaters.

“On high pollution days we may detect extra cases of stroke, other myocardial infarctions, heart attacks, for instance, and also PM (particulate matter) air pollution has been linked to premature mortality…..  So it will bring forward those few extra deaths – particularly, we think, in more vulnerable people such as the elderly.”  See http://ab.co/1RP6teY

However, this study from the Lancaster Environment Centre has shown that –

  • “increasing deposition by the planting of vegetation in street canyons can reduce street-level concentrations in those canyons by as much as 40% for nitrogen dioxide & 60% for particulate matter.
  • Deposition rates of nitrogen dioxide & particulate matter to vegetation are much higher than those to hard, built surfaces.
  • Substantial street-level air quality improvements can be gained through action at the scale of a single street canyon or across city-sized areas of canyons.
  • Vegetation will continue to offer benefits in the reduction of pollution even if the traffic source is removed from city centers.” See – http://bit.ly/1UMfVQV

And, “The efficacy of roadside trees for mitigation of PM [particulate matter] health hazard might be seriously underestimated in some current atmospheric models.”

The ability to lower particulate matter is in the power of human beings.  Stop using coal power stations, drive less, ride bicycles & catch public transport more & don’t use coal-fired barbeques or burn wood for heating.

We can plant a tree on our property if there is space & create a verge garden on the street.  We can also lobby our local councils to increase the urban forest, as the Lancaster research clearly demonstrated a drop of 60% for particulate matter between the street & the row of terrace houses & these were only small Birch trees in pots.  Imagine what a good canopy mature street tree can do for us all in cleaning up the air.

Researchers continue to clearly show us that trees are good for people in a myriad of ways.  Our mental health & happiness levels, our ability to learn & our respiratory & cardiac health are just some benefits trees bring.

A street in Marrickville.  No overhead powerlines and footpaths of equal size on both sides of the road.

A street in Marrickville. No overhead powerlines and footpaths of equal size on both sides of the road.  For the benefit of all, there should be street trees along here.  

 

Dead Sydney Blue gum in Tooth Lane Camperdown

Dead Sydney Blue gum in Tooth Lane Camperdown.

Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna) in Tooth Lane Camperdown.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “The tree has died (scenecent) [sic]
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

I visited this tree & it is as Council says – dead. What is incredible is that this tree had been allowed to live in the first place. Either it was left in-situ when the units were being developed or it was planted shortly afterwards. It is the only tree in this lane. It once had a significant canopy that I can only assume was enjoyed by the people who looked onto its canopy & enjoyed the shade it provided. This tree provided significant amenity for many years.

Council says they will not be planting a replacement tree “due to site restraints.”

I agree with Council that planting another tree here is unfeasible because there simply is no room.   However, with Marrickville municipality officially recognised as having one of the poorest canopies in Sydney, I would consider it a good move toward increasing our urban forest if Council planted a Sydney Blue Gum in another location where its growth will not be restrained. There are plenty of suitable places.

It seems counterproductive in these days of climate change not to use every opportunity to replace any tree lost with at least one other of comparable size & amenity. In many places the standard is to replace one lost with two to four new trees.  To lose a tree, & a big tree at that, & decide to replace with nothing is disappointing. It makes me wonder how Marrickville’s urban forest will ever achieve the 20% increase as campaigned for by the 202020 Vision.

Sydney Blue gums are valuable trees to local wildlife providing habitat & food. They also are one of the few tall tree species in the municipality, so provide green on the skyline for the community to see.  The benefits of trees have been repeatedly spoken about in this blog.  Just being able to see trees on the skyline instead of red tiled roofs offers some respite from the harshness of the inner city landscape.

I offer Broadway, Ultimo & Chippendale as nearby suburbs that have 3-4 storey street trees as a norm. Marrickville municipality has, on average, wider streetscapes & verges than those suburbs, yet our streetscapes are remarkably different.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 12th February 2016.

A very detirmined tree to live in this space for as long as it did.  When it is gone the space is perfect for a small garden to keep some beauty in this lane.  Better than weeds.

A very detirmined tree to live in this space for as long as it did. 

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