You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘forests’ tag.

Wolli Creek

“Over the past 60-years we have inflicted more rapid degradation on the planet than in all of human history.” 

This is an exceptionally beautiful video that talks about trees & the benefits of forests & was filmed by UN appointed Yann Arthus-Bertrand who produced ‘Home,’ the official film for the International Year of Forests 2011. ‘Home’ was seen by 400 million people.

This 7-minute video is of aerial images of spectacular forests allowing us to see trees in their natural shape. Some are quite amazing.  This video is a fabulous resource for students & schools & a beautiful inspiring break for the rest of us.

“Deforestation releases more Co2 than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships & planes combined. The destruction of the forests in Australia have led to the worst droughts in Australia in the last 10,000 years.”

This 5-minute video explains the relationship between climate change & deforestation.  Standing forests were not included in Kyoto Protocol.


1.  In a move to be proud of Chinese officials have ordered that barren hills be painted green to give the impression of trees. “This [painting hills into green] is the most advanced experience in our country. We learned it from the internet & then decided to do it.” Follow-up reports by Chinese media have found that it is quite a popular practice in some mountainous areas in Fujian province to use green paint to ‘reforest’ hills.” Sorry there is no photo.

I wholly recommend having a look at award-winning 2009 photos taken by Lu Guang – Pollution in China.  I think it’s the best example I have ever seen of why we need to care for the environment.  We are so lucky to live in Australia.

Lichen grows on a Casuarina

2. Progress Energy intend to chop down hundreds of large, old trees in the Seagate neighborhood in Wilmington US.  Trees targeted are those that might grow taller than 3.5-metres (12 feet) & are within 7.6-metre on either side of the power lines.  Trees have been living within this 152-metre strip since 1972, but times have changed. I find it interesting that with global warming comes the knowledge that we need to plant more trees, yet there is so much tree removal happening because of ‘new ways’ of doing things.   I wonder whether it is due to a fear that when global warming gets worse, companies will be prevented from removing trees & want to get in before any restrictions happen.

4. A recently published global study, Drought-induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000-2009 has shown that CO2 uptake by the world’s forest has declined. “It diminishes hopes that global warming can be seriously slowed down by the mass planting of trees in carbon sinks. Although plants generally grow bigger as a result of absorbing carbon-enriched air, they need more water & nutrients to do so & they have been getting less.”

5.  56 trees in Damrosch Park New York were chopped down to make way for Fashion Week’s tents.  This event followed the usual argument of “the trees were healthy, the trees were not healthy & we are going to plant a whole lot more soon anyway.”  First it was fur, now it is trees.   How about finding another location?

6. Massive tree planting led by Buddhist monks & nuns & aiming at 1 million trees will happen in Ladakh Northern India during October 2010. They plan to set a world record of planting the maximum number of trees in an hour. Ladakh was beset with flooding & landslides last August 2010 that washed away hundreds of houses, blocked roads & destroyed bridges. Thousands of people were affected & at least 170 people died.  The tree planting is hoped to prevent this from happening again.

7. In Dallas Texas, a new 5.2-acre park is being constructed above the Freeway. The traffic will still run as usual, but people will be able to use the green space above.  I think this is wonderful urban design.

8.  Kuala Lumpur authorities have requested NGOs & the private sector to plant more trees to support the effort of reducing global warming. 30 million trees to be exact. Makes me wonder why Australia doesn’t come up with these kinds of numbers.

9.  A UK Tree Surgeon chopped down trees, dropping logs, leaves & branches on to cars parked in a busy street beneath & wouldn’t stop. Bad day?

10.  A 15 year-old Maple tree was professionally removed by persons unknown in the grounds of a church in Leytonstone US.

11.  The city of Albany in the US is offering free trees to residents to plant in front of their homes or businesses. Street trees also add to the curb appeal of a building, which can increase its real estate value. What a great program.

Grevillea, favourite food of nectar-eating birds

12.  America’s & Canada’s Ash trees are being decimated by the Asian Emerald Ash Borer.  Like Australia’s Cane toad, the ash borer has no enemies in the US & Canada. Since being introduced accidentally into Michigan early this decade, ash borers have spread to 14 US states & Canada. The larvae burrow through the bark cutting off trees’ pathways for water & nutrients causing the tree to suffer a slow death.   In Sioux Falls US, an estimated 75,000 Green Ash trees as well as undetermined number of trees along the river greenway & at Great Bear Recreation Park in Sioux Falls US are at risk of this insect. The City Forester is recommending a program to create diversity by removing some of the Ash trees & planting different species in an attempt not to lose all the Ash trees to the borer when it arrives.

13.  America is also fighting another tree killing insect, the Asian long-horned beetle.  This beetle has caused tens of thousands of hardwood trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey & New York. The beetle has recently been found in Boston as well.  Community action days are regularly held to scope trees & find this beetle.  He is a good-looking beetle, but another tree-muncher who likes around 12 species of hardwood trees & shouldn’t be in the US. To see what the beetle looks like –

Reflection of Norfolk Island Pines along the Cooks River in Tempe

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

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.

showing the Optus cables clearance - extreme at this end of Renwick St Marrickville South. At the other end of this street the branches were pruned to & above the Optus cables

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 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.

Their website 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://

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.”

After pruning by Energy Australia, this tree on Renwick Street is a shadow of its former self

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.

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.

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.

This street tree in Renwick Street had a naturally round canopy. Before it was pruned early 2010, it looked something like the area shaded in yellow. It may have been taller

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

On 24th January 2010 I reported in Tree News Local & International of a report by The Cumberland Courier of the death of a grove of 40 year old Gums on a property in Boundary Road, Box Hill which was being investigated by Hills Shire Council & Castle Hill police.  Seems Hills Shire Council believes the trees have been poisoned as they have drill holes in them.  Apart from the Gums, a number of Ironbarks thought to be older than 100 years are also dying on this property.   Sad. Sad. Sad.  You can read the first part of the story here –

& the second follow-up article here –

Energy Australia is getting more negative publicity this time from the  Inner West Courier.

Coffs Harbour City Council just won a court case against a company owner for the removal of koala habitat trees on a Moonee property in June 2009.  The company received a hefty fine.  To read this click on the following –

I don’t know if this type of offence has always made news, but it seems to me that tree vandalism is making the news globally at the moment. I think this is terrific.  When I was growing up people did dreadful things to trees & there was no-one to call them to account for it.  The attitude was ‘man conquers trees’ & we have huge loss of forests world-wide & a massive reduction in the percentage of urban trees to show for it.

Times have changed & it seems the community is insisting that offences against trees be punished.  This type of attitudinal shift will only benefit us in the long-term & perhaps over the next 30 years we can leave the world in a much better state than it is currently.

The Cooks River Valley Times this week had the intended massive expansion (more than double) of Marrickville Metro shopping centre on their front page.  If AMP do get approval to expand Marrickville Metro, we will lose another lot of healthy, mature & old Hills Figs.  There are more than 20 which surround the shopping complex.  Apart from the food & shelter these trees give to local wildlife, they serve a very important role in disguising the visually unpleasant complex, which is basically a cement box with entrances & ramps leading to car parking.  Okay, this is what malls generally look like, but the Figs are way too precious to be chopped down to significantly enlarge a centre where shop-keepers have told me during general chit-chat over last 2-3 years that they are struggling to survive.  There are also a number of tall Eucalypts with trunks around 2-3 metres which may also have to go if the building expands outwards & not upwards.  This DA is going to have a big impact for the community if it goes ahead. I seem to remember Marrickville Council’s Draft LEP mentioning something about new units planned to house thousands of people within 800 metres from Metro.  Oh boy. More high-rise.

Integral Energy have “chastised some of its contactors for overzealous pruning of street trees” after the street trees in Christine Street Northmead were ruined.  Intergal Energy admitted their contactor “got it wrong.”  In the article written in the Cumberland Courier the energy company talks about their tree pruning practices & training.

I have been following with great interest developments around the world concerning climate change & the value of trees.  Every climate change expert has been seriously & loudly advocating that we immediately stop large-scale logging in forests. They are also advising that we embark on mass reforestation world-wide, citing this as the most effective means of soaking up the dangerous levels of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere & preventing run-away climate change.  Of course there are other interventions, such as stopping the use of coal for power, but trees are universally recognised as an essential component in the management of climate change & the prevention of species extinction, including human beings.

There is a also a increasing push for rich countries to pay for the preservation of old growth forests which are currently being logged or burnt at alarming rates.  The Amazon Rain Forest, long regarded as the ‘lungs of the world,’ is one forest the existence of which is deemed essential to preserving life on this planet because it removes billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere & stores it as carbon.

There is also a plethora of information coming out about the value of trees in the urban setting.  Again, the experts say that we must plant more trees in our cities & that we should be doing it now.

The climate change experts say we need to plant substantial trees with large trunks & substantial canopies, as these tree species are the most effective at sequestering & storing CO2.  Small stature trees with thin trunks & branches are not nearly as effective in CO2 sequestration as large trunk trees & should be used when there are no other options.  However, you just need to visit a intensely built suburb like Balmain or Paddington to realise that large trees can survive well in small spaces & the buildings do not fall down as a result of large trees planted near them.

My reading has shown there is a marked difference in attitude regarding trees between Australia & most of the world with the difference most noticeable with America.

Americans love their trees & it is quite common for a local community to come together to protest the removal of any tree within the urban landscape.  Tree removal & pruning is reported widely in American news.

I came across this lovely sign in a Camperdown park

Read any article about trees in the local news throughout America & you will find many comments left by readers, sometimes into the hundreds.  The community is highly engaged when it comes to trees & not just concerning street & park trees.  Americans with no particular affiliations & of all ages routinely protest the proposed pruning of trees in back roads, the removal of a lone 100 year old tree sitting next to a railway line, the removal of street trees because of pavement movement or development & even the lowering of the green canopy by new home owners who remove trees on their property.

In New York state a number of counties have invoked Ordinances which prevent developers from clear-cutting lots for housing, a practice which is done routinely in Australia.  Counties are also preventing people who have newly bought into the area from cutting down trees on their property stating that this action changes the character of the town.  They say it is unacceptable for people buy into an area because it looks good, then proceed to make the area look bad by cutting down the trees on their property & even asking that the street trees be removed as well.

In one County in New York both the community & the Governing bodies because upset when they realised the green canopy had decreased.  Now there are strict town codes preventing the removal of trees & hefty fines for those who chop first & ask questions later.  The County knows who have chopped down trees on their property not only because of reporting from neighbours, but also, because they have done a tree inventory & this is monitored on a regular basis.

Significant proof is required if residents accuse trees of causing damage.  All trees cut down on private property have to be immediately replaced.  There are also strict requirements about the species of tree that is required to be planted in the place of a tree that has been removed.  A property owner cannot cut down a large tree & replace it with a small growing tree unless they have accepted proof as to why this is necessary & they certainly cannot elect to not plant a replacement tree without good reason.

I highly doubt they allow pruning of street trees done by residents to ensure a tree doesn’t grow, a practice that is reasonably common in the streets of Marrickville LGA.

The community is educated about the benefits of trees from school upwards.  There may be significant debate & denial about anthropogenic climate change in America, but most people know that trees collect storm runoff, prevent soil erosion, remove pollutants from the air & raise property values.  Neither the community nor the Governing bodies are willing to allow what they openly term ‘tree haters’ to remove trees without good reason.  They believe that trees belong to the community & should be protected by the community.  They also strongly believe that trees are vital to the community’s well being.

We often follow America in our likes & customs.  I am hoping that a general love, knowledge & appreciation of trees become the norm in our society.  If the climate change scientists are correct, we don’t have too long because we need trees now more than we ever have in the known history of mankind & trees take decades to grow to the size needed to be effective in removing & storing CO2 from our atmosphere.   We need to start now.



© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 626,450 hits
%d bloggers like this: