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Tree news is a little late with most of the items happening in July 2010.  However, I thought they would still be of interest.

1.   The community of James City in the US are upset about a new development of shops where the developer wants to clear 8.85 acres of trees for a shopping centre.

2.   Arborcide is the US legal term for vandalism of public trees with the penalty up to 12 months imprisonment or US$15,000 fine.  A 35 year old man was arrested & charged with Arbocide after he vandalized dozens of trees in Brooklyn until he was caught & taken to a psychiatric hospital.  ….the anger of residents was partly because so many of them took pride in their street trees. He and others had received a license from the parks department to prune the trees themselves.  “No one’s angry at Steve, but we need him to get better for our trees to get better.”

Created over the last 5 years or so, this patch of bushland in Marrickville South is a haven for birds & other wildlife

3.   The Commonwealth Forestry Conference was held in Edinburgh Scotland at the end of June 2010. The Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr Sharma addressed the conference saying –

Forests, we know, represent almost three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Cut them down & they are responsible for almost a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions. Tackle deforestation & we go a long way towards tacking climate change.  … twenty years time, 80% of the forests that covered the earth in 1947 will be gone. As well as the loss of thousands of species, this will also accelerate the climate changes that destroy our other natural environments, our glaciers, grassland & coral reefs.

Mr Sharma’s main message was trees are worth more alive than dead.  This article covers other areas of his speech where he offers other ways to tackle climate change.

Young Eucalypt with flowering Wattle

4.   Stephen Matthews & Paul Rodewald, landscape ecologists at Ohio State University in the US recently published a study on migrating Swainson’s thrushes finding even a small urban forest can help migrating birds.  This has huge implications with increased urbanization & loss of habitat with manufactured green spaces offering only minor replacement.  Within migration, land birds spend up to 90% of their time resting & regaining energy at stopover sites, making habitat a key component.

5.   Scientists from Colorado State University have produced a unique map that shows the canopy height of the world’s forests. The map has implications for an ongoing effort to estimate the amount of carbon tied up in Earth’s forests & for explaining what sops up 2 billion tons of “missing” carbon each year. It will also help monitor the world’s forests.

6.   550 trees, some 100-years old, were chopped down without notice by the state Department of Transportation as part of construction of the Grand Central Parkway near the airport in New York. The Department intends to replace them with a dividing wall between the roadway & the housing.

Future problems?

7.   The issue of the right street tree planted in the right space has caused problems with US power company NStar & their street tree pruning for overhead wires.

It’s obscene. I don’t know if they are trying to do [enough pruning] for the next 10 years or if it’s to save them money & they don’t care about the damage to the trees, the health of the trees, or the look of the town. But it’s just way over the top.

The Town Manager for Arlington has prevented NStar from any further pruning of street trees “until the company or its contractors provide assurances that private property will be respected & appropriate standards will be followed.”

Drinking from a puddle

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start of high-rise

1.    The Environment Department has done aerial seeding of 1 million trees across nearly 6,000 hectares of exposed lakebeds in South Australia to ease soil acidification. “It is hoped the plants will stop a spread of toxic dust & add vital organic material to the soil, in a region which faced prolonged drought.”

2.   Clarence Valley Council has done something amazing for the environment. Funded by the Department of Environment Climate Change & Water, they planted 300 rainforest trees for flying-fox habitat over an area of about 3,400 square metres in McLean to manage the bat population. Terrific & compassionate program, far better than the usual to just chuck the bats out or simply cut down the trees. Loud applause.

3.   Yesterday I posted about Goondiwindi Regional Council chopping down Fig trees despite community opposition. Now the Council is going to spend $96,000 on floating footpaths made out of more than 80,000 recycled milk bottle caps. Using this type of footpath means they won’t have to cut the roots of trees or even worse, remove healthy trees because of roots affecting footpaths.  They said they were prepared to send this kind of money because they, “understand how important these trees are to residents.”

4.   Nine 150-year-old trees in Burdekin Park near Singleton are to be chopped down because bats classified as threatened species have destroyed them. Singleton Council has arranged to have a qualified bat handler assess & stay with the bats during the nights when their homes are being removed.

5.   In NSW a research team from the science & research division of Industry & Investment NSW has managed to record thousands of calls of the Microbat for the first time, making it easier for scientists to identify & protect their habitats. Microbats consume up to 1.5 times their own body weight in one night & are a vital part of our ecosystem. They, like many other of our wildlife are threatened due to loss of habitat because of development.

6.   Bats are thought of very differently in Italy where people have purchased more than 12,000 bat boxes at £25 each since April 2010 to combat the tiger mosquito that has infected hundreds with Chikungunya Fever. Each bat eats around 10,000 insects a night so they are a non-chemical organic approach to mosquito control. Everyone wins, except the mosquito.

7.   Hornsby has a new community action group called Stop 20 who are opposed to Hornsby Council’s draft housing strategy, which includes 20-storey housing developments.

8.    On 28 June at the Commonwealth Forestry Conference in Edinburgh UK, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said, “We need to show, financially, that trees are worth more alive than dead. Forests, we know, represent almost three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Cut them down, & they are responsible for almost a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions. Tackle deforestation, & we go a long way towards tacking climate change.” He also said in 20 years time 80% of the forests that covered the earth in 1947 will be gone.   As well as the loss of thousands of species, this will also “accelerate the climate changes that destroy our other natural environments, our glaciers, grassland & coral reefs.”

9.   Chen Maoguo, a very brave man sat up in a Euclyptus tree in China for more than 3 months to protest the planned demolition of his home for the building of a shopping mall.  Mr Chen is being tried for disturbing public order. I hope he doesn’t get a gaol sentence.

10.    A number of communities in the state of Massachusetts USA have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of street trees that have died as a result of underground gas leaks in degrading pipes in the National Grid.

11.   The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission in the US has approved $35.7 million for 6 million acres of wetlands & bird refuges across the US &  Canada.

12.   Pavlovsk experimental station Russia, one of the world’s oldest seed banks is soon to be demolished to make way for housing.  The seed bank holds more than 4000 varieties of fruits & berries from which most modern commercially grown varieties are derived.

13.   8 turbines are to be put under the bridges crossing the river Seine in Paris to raise energy from the rivers currents. There is already an underwater turbine under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This article also mentions that Paris has a free bicycle scheme.

14.   Chicago is going to do a census on its trees after doing one 17 years ago.

Watching the documentary Greatest Cities of the World on Tuesday night I learnt the finest honey in France is from a beehive on the roof of the Paris Opera House.  Not illegal, just using available good quality space.

lovely old tree in Dulwich Hill



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