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1. 62-year-old American, Harvey Updyke Jr famed for poisoning two 130-year-old much-loved Southern Live Oak trees called the Toomer’s Oaks in Auburn University Alabama in January 2011 after his team lost a game has been sentenced to 3 year’s gaol. Currently in custody, he will remain in custody about 6-more months. After release he will have a 7pm curfew & be on supervised probation for 5-years with the conditions that he is not allowed to enter the university campus, attend any sporting event or enter a Lowes Store where he threatened an employee. He was also fined $1,000. The trees will be chopped down in April with the wood being made into souvenirs & a memorial to be displayed at the local museum. http://bit.ly/XAI37G
2. Anne Frank wrote in her diaries about the Horse Chestnut tree that she could see from the Amsterdam attic window where she & her family hid for 2-years during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. “From my favourite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky & the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, & at the sea gulls & other birds as they glide on the wind…I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” The tree was estimated to be between 150 &170-years-old & sadly blew down in 2010. Eleven cuttings of this tree will be planted across the US this year as “as symbols of tolerance & hope.” http://bit.ly/13plieP
3. Massive fossil trees have been found in northern Thailand. “The longest petrified log measures 72.2 meters (237 feet), which suggest the original tree towered to more than 100 meters (330 feet) in a wet tropical forest some 800,000 years ago.” No living tree in Thailand is anywhere near the size of the fossils. One of the fossils has grabbed the title of the worlds longest unbroken fossilized tree trunk. Seven fossils out of nine have been excavated. http://bit.ly/11icbLC
4. Tree number seven billion has been planted as part of the British Columbia reforestation program in Canada, which began in 1930. “It took 51 years for the province to plant its first billion trees. The second-billionth tree was planted merely eight years later in 1989. The province planted the sixth-billionth tree four years ago at Knox Mountains in Kelowna.” What a fantastic feat. http://bit.ly/14on1k5
5. Arlington National Cemetery, a military cemetery in Virginia US is to be expanded because they will run out of burial space within 12-years. 800 trees will be chopped down to make way for the expansion & many are against this environmental destruction. “Critics of the plan say that the loss of older, mature woodlands will have an outsized impact on the natural habitat, given that much of the rest of Arlington County is urbanized. Such older woodlands would take generations to replace, essentially making them ‘irreplaceable’ said critics, including members of several citizen groups like the Arlington Urban Forestry Commission.” Cemetery officials say most of the trees are 50-100 years old, with the oldest at about 145 years old. Each tree removal will allow 30 graves. http://bit.ly/WK6ZfN
6. Trinity Oaks wine brand has a tree-planting program called ‘One Bottle, One Tree.’ They teamed up with non-profit organization ‘Trees for the Future,’ in July 2008 & have planted 7-million trees throughout Africa, Asia & Latin America. Angove Wines from Australia are included in their program, but you would need to purchase a bottle in the US for it to be made into a tree. It’s great to see an Australian wine involved. http://bit.ly/XZT99V
7. Nursery owners in Pakistan have vowed to set fire to 1-million tree seedlings on the World Forest Day to protest against what they consider flawed forestation policies of the government. “The extreme step was being taken as a last resort to shakeup national conscience & to make people think what is wrong with Pakistan’s forestation policies. There is no forestation in Pakistan despite the fact that millions of seedlings & millions of acres of suitable land was available.” http://bit.ly/Y9uLTv
8. 63,000 trees were planted over 5-days along streets & roundabouts in Sana’a in Yemen to improve the city’s appearance. Almost 10,000 street trees were planted last year. In a bid to be more sustainable, water used for personal washing will be collected from mosques & used to water the trees. http://bit.ly/ZNX2xP
9. The first time chop sticks were used was by Da Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty in 2100 BC. “It was an invention born of urgency. In his rush to reach a flood zone, Da Yu did not want to wait for his meat in his wok to cool, instead seizing a pair of twigs & wolfing down his meal.” – thus chop sticks were born. The chairman of Jilin Forestry Industry Group has said “We must change our consumption habits & encourage people to carry their own tableware.” He advocates the change because China is chopping down 20-million mature trees a year to supply disposable chop sticks & their own forests will not cover this need. China is the world’s largest importer of wood. http://bit.ly/WQ2kJ6
10. New Zealander Brian Kent, has been fined $45,800 for the illegal felling of native trees so he could have an unobstructed harbour view of the Bay of Plenty on the North Island from his spa pool. He also has to pay $265.78 court costs, $226 solicitor’s fees & $5000 reparation bringing the total to $51,331.78. The trees were in a special ecological area, the Daisy Hardwick Reserve. Eleven trees valued at almost $63,000 were chopped down. The contractor received a $1500 fine, plus 200 hours community service. http://bit.ly/10blIzd
1. The community fought unsuccessfully to retain a heritage-protected beautiful & healthy 100-year-old Moreton Bay Fig tree, which was chopped down as part of the Western Australian government’s Elizabeth Quay redevelopment. Authority Chief Executive Kieran Kinsella said, “…with an estimated weight of 600 tonnes, significant modifications & rehabilitation of the road infrastructure, specialist crane equipment & the removal of other trees would be required to move it. Relocation of the tree could result in the transfer of contaminated materials to another site.” This is just one of 160 trees situated in the development area that will be removed over the next 6-months. http://yhoo.it/KJA4zO
A wonderful article about the development & tree removal from City Gatekeepers says, “what they have forgotten in their logic is that these gracious old trees are an attraction in their own right, with civic value well beyond the new man-made environment which will replace them.” One would have to wonder why the designers could not incorporate heritage-protected & much loved trees in their plans, but it seems paving has won out. http://bit.ly/L5J4nw The Perth City Gatekeepers held an event on Sunday 1 July 2012 in memory of the Perth Esplanade & the destruction of this heritage listed precinct. See – http://bit.ly/MU6jB1
2. The NSW state government’s proposal to remove the Local Councils from approving development applications, with the only requirement is that the DA conform to the Local Environment Plan (LEP) & if it does, gets automatic approval, is really worrying. “DA hearings, formal objections & debates over contentious developments could disappear under plans by the state government to radically overhaul the planning act.” If this proposal gets approved, it will mean that developers get massive rights over those of the community.
The Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard said, “he was determined to end the current practice where individual development applications turn into ”site-specific planning wars” & introduce a system where communities agree in advance on building types, heights & densities for a whole area. Once such agreements were reached they would not be varied & developers could get on & build.” http://bit.ly/LX5aZJ
I find this really interesting, as our own LEP has been altered on around 100 issues last month, despite that it was a done deal & finalized last year. If I understand correctly 3 developers want to build housing for around 7,500 people ABOVE the extra 4,100 dwelling targets to 2031 planned for in the Marrickville LEP 2011. If these new developments get approved, & some of our Councillors are stating that they are excited about this, then Marrickville LGA will be getting housing for an extra 11,600 more people, not 4,100 people. All well & good some would say, except the infrastructure is hardly coping now, before any significant development has even happened. See – http://bit.ly/L3O3iA
Minister Hazzard & all Local Councils would be aware of the miniscule amount of community involvement regarding the affairs of Council, except for the odd item. The Marrickville LGA community generally does not take a high interest in what goes on in Council for a multitude of reasons, often time-related, & this probably is the case in most Councils, so this new law is banking on people not knowing what is going on. I believe the developers will be the winners & certainly not the community. http://bit.ly/MRTHIt
City of Canterbury Council published a article on their website about the proposed changes to the planning laws – “…. to propose that Councillors should have no role in determining DAs – is totally unacceptable & is an insult to their integrity. In his attempt to woo developers, the Minister has turned his back on residents – who don’t have the ability to appeal their concerns to the Land & Environment Court – they appeal to their Councillors to consider a DA on its merits – taking into consideration such issues as the amenity & character of the street & its surrounds, & more intimate details of the design of the proposal which may have an impact on their amenity & enjoyment of their homes.” http://bit.ly/MdcOJq
3. The NSW state government is looking at building a Greenway from the Cooks River all the way to the city via a ‘City West Cycle link’ that hasn’t been created yet. The current Greenway goes from the Cooks River to Iron Cove. Friends of the Greenway spokesperson said, “… without any details & no consultation so far we cannot say whether it will be anything like the Greenway vision the community has campaigned for.” Let’s see what transpires & how long it takes. http://bit.ly/QXDlin
4. During the last weekend in March 2012 Bermagui on the NSW South Coast participated in the 2012 Bermagui Bioblitz for the Atlas of Life looking at biodiversity in the area. This was part of the national biodiversity project, the Atlas of Living Australia. “Over the 30 hours of the survey more than 200 people were engaged on 42 different surveys of all the living things that could be found from clifftop plants, to nocturnal marsupials & frogs, shell death assemblages & night time scuba & snorkel searches & many more. Local & visiting naturalists & scientists led the surveys & generously shared their expertise with the many local & visiting enthusiasts who were keen to explore this small location with many different habitats.” School children also helped by identifying “animals & plants from beach, estuary & wetlands. ….over 500 different species recorded during the Bioblitz.”
I would love a Bioblitz to happen for the Cooks River, the parks along the river & for the Greenway & Wolli Creek. Imagine what we would find & how this information would help both adults & children learn about the importance of these areas. I also think that it would help reduce vandalism & littering as people would be connecting in a deep way with their environment. I would love the Councils of the Cooks River Alliance to decide to do a Bioblitz, not hire consultants for the job, but instead involve schools & the community as well as experts in their fields to assist. We could learn so much from what was collected or photographed in a weekend. http://bit.ly/FQw2UX
5. Yarra City Council wants a new bylaw that forbids people from feeding possums in Curtain Square Carlton North for “ecological reasons & also to avoid nuisances arising, such as food on the ground creating litter/encouraging vermin.” Problem is that most of the trees in Curtain Square are exotics so the poor possums have no habitat or natural food source. The Council strategy is contraceptive implants for some possums, tree banding so the possums can’t climb the exotic trees & they also plan to plant other trees for the sterile possums. Animal Active, an animal rights group, say they will continue to feed the possums. http://bit.ly/PfrvTA
6. The City of Sydney & the City of Melbourne are changing planning laws to encourage the conversion of roofs into green roof & also to include green walls. http://bit.ly/LB47Kz The 6-green-star-rated at 1 Bligh Street Building recently completed a 40-metre by 9-metre green wall that is incredibly beautiful & is a wonderful asset to the area. I made a short video of it here – http://bit.ly/LclPHn
7. Bad news in that Myrtle Rust has been found in the Marrickville Community Nursery. Good news in that it was picked up early. Marrickville Council’s Environmental Volunteers Newsletter said, “some small patches of Myrtle Rust were spotted on one of the Callistemon pinifolius in the shade house & on some paperbark tubestock (Melaleuca nodosa). Only time will tell how Myrtle Rust will affect the Marrickville area, & what will be the best course of action regarding the propagation & use of these susceptible species.” Information about Myrtle Rust & a great photo of it here – http://bit.ly/Nm55MB
At 36 metres tall (118 feet) this Bald cypress had an 5.5 metre (18 feet) diameter. It had been standing in Big Tree Park Florida USA for 3,500 years.
Now it is gone. Dead. Burnt to the ground, even though it had a lightning rod installed to prevent it catching fire if struck by lightning.
From the New York Times, “Named for Senator M. O. Overstreet, who donated the land to Seminole County to use as a park in 1927, the Senator has long been a landmark for Floridians. It survived the logging epidemic, which claimed many of the giant trees that once stood in the county. (The Senator may have been spared because it was hollow, a condition that occurred as the tree aged.) It endured centuries of nasty hurricanes, including one in 1925 that lopped off 40 feet from the top.”
The Division of Forestry is investigating how this giant was burnt down. They are considering arson, a lightning strike or wind friction. The locals think the tree was a victim of arson – perhaps a lit cigarette tossed into the hollow.
A tree that reached 3,500 years of age would have been a seedling in 1512BC.
Just to put this in perspective, the following are some random historical events that occurred during this tree’s lifetime. When Minoan culture was destroyed in 1450BC this tree was 62-years-old & 407-years-old when the Trojan War occurred in 1105BC. The first Olympic games happened in 766BC. In 500BC the wheel came to Great Britain & this tree was 1,012-years-old. In 333BC Alexander the Great defeated Persia at the battle of Issus. In 51BC Cleopatra & Ptolemy XII inherited Egypt. In 27BC Caesar Augustus became Emperor of Rome. In 30AD when Jesus was crucified this tree was 1,542-years-old. In 793 Ireland was raided by the Vikings. Angkor Wat was built in Cambodia in 1140. In 1348, 75-million people in Europe died due to The Black Plague. In 1666 The Great Fire of London burnt the city down. In 1770 Captain James Cook landed in Botany Bay. In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. In 1945 the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima Japan. In 1957 Sputnik I became the first human-made satellite & so on. In 2012 The Senator, one of the world’s ancient trees dies, aged 3,500 years. Cause of death unknown as yet.
“What remains now is a trunk, split in half, & a charred shard of wood that shoots 30 feet into the air. The remnants of the tree lie split, on their sides, black & sooty. Outside the gates of the park sits a little tribute of flowers with a sign reading “Rest in Peace Senator.””
Developed by researchers from the Smithsonian Institute, Colombia University & the University of Maryland, Leafsnap allows you to identify & get other information about a tree that interests you. It would be a fantastic resource for schools.
To use Leafsnap, pick a leaf from the tree, place it on a white background & take a photo. This gets uploaded & within moments, information about the tree, its bark, flowers, petiole & fruit is downloaded to your phone.
Leafsnap has been set up for the trees of New York City & Washington DC. However, the developers of the app plan to include information of the trees of the entire continental United States.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a similar app were produced for the trees of Australia. Imagine being able to identify the 2,000 species of Eucalypts for a start. Because it is a free app, I think Leafsnap is worth downloading because it just may well identify trees in our own locality. The developers say the Leafsnap will be available for the iPad soon. ** July 2011 – Leafsnap is now available for ipad2.
Here is a short YouTube video demonstrating how Leafsnap works – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k02C7p7mQ_c
1. The community lost its fight to retain a children’s tree house in a very beautiful street tree on Narelle Avenue in North Bondi last week. Waverley Council said the tree house was unsafe & they would “build a compliant play area in a nearby park.” The community is upset, especially the children who used to play in the tree house. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/north-bondi-treehouse-removed/
2. Wahroonga Council planned a new park & playground at Water Street Reserve, Wahroonga. To do this they would need to remove 400 square metres of shrubs & grasses in an endangered Blue gum high forest. Council said no trees would need to be removed. The community protested so the Councillors have asked for a report, including “funding & restoration options.” http://north-shore-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/council-cant-see-good-for-the-trees-residents/
3. Bardon Park Coogee is used by the Coogee Dolphins Rugby Club to practice, but the community say it is a small park that is meant for use by the residents & not the sporting clubs. Randwick Council had intended to returf the park. http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/feud-over-park-continues/
4. Lot 4711 Bambara Road, Kariong zoned Conservation & Scenic Protection (Conservation) was allegedly cleared without permission from Gosford Council. The Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water is investigating. http://express-advocate-gosford.whereilive.com.au/news/story/investigation-into-land-clearing-at-bambara-road/
5. A vandal has damaged or destroyed new street trees on Walnut Street Carnegie on 6 occasions over the past 18 months. The residents are upset & want the trees replaced. Glen Eira Council said they probably wont replace the trees immediately – so the vandal gets exactly what they want despite living on a street where the residents do want new street trees. http://caulfield-glen-eira-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/carnegie-tree-killer-strikes-six-times/
6. In a fantastic move, Tweed Shire Council passed a new Tree Preservation Order that extends Koala habitat in the region. Another 1,870 hectares of land in the Tweed will now be protected. This is great as we are seriously in danger of losing wild Koala populations due to habitat loss. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/17/3141055.htm?site=northcoast§ion=news&date=(none)
7. Elm beetles & cedar moth caterpillars have stripped the leaves of scores of Elm & Cedar trees in Wagga Wagga. Wagga City Council say they have 500 Golden elms as street trees which they intend to progressively replace over the next 10-years though they don’t say why. They do however, say that the affected trees won’t die as a result of the insect damage & their leaves will grow back . http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/wagga-trees-under-attack-from-insects/2079055.aspx
8. Shepparton Council intends to remove 63 mature London Planes trees in Corio Street Shepparton. The residents are campaigning to retain the trees. The Greater Shepparton City Council said some of the trees were dangerous while others were dying. The trees are 80-years old. http://www.sheppnews.com/members/login.aspx?noaccess=1&from=/article.aspx?id=1202303
9. Conservationists protesting logging at Rats Head Road in the Bodalla State Forest Narooma successfully stopped work by suspending a platform 10 metres above
the ground from a tree with the rope attached to logging equipment. However, during last Tuesday night, an unknown person cut the ropes that supported the platform while a protester was up in the platform. “South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) representatives presented Forests NSW & the logging contractors with a ‘Statement of Guarantee.’ The statement set out terms & conditions requiring Forests NSW to guarantee there will be no impacts on the environment as a result of the logging & ‘to guarantee any logging Forests NSW & their authorised contractors undertake will not impact on the health & wellbeing of the citizens of New South Wales, being both present & future unborn generations.’ The logging contractor refused to sign the guarantee.” Later the tree that held the viewing platform was chopped down by an unknown person. http://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/news/local/news/general/night-attack-on-forest-treesitter-at-narooma/2078489.aspx
10. Woolahra Council is attempting to cut down tree vandalism done for views by allowing residents to prune public trees for views & sunlight, including trees in public parks. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/draft-plan-to-manage-trees/
11. Orange City Council plans to rezone & sell Fred Dobbin Park. This park is only one of more than a dozen similar community parks that the Council plans to sell. The residents are fighting the selloff saying they need their parks. http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/news/local/news/general/we-will-fight-to-save-our-park/2075907.aspx
12. Marrickville Mudcrabs reported that on Saturday 19th February 2011 a car was dumped into the Cooks River near Tempe Railway Station. Marrickville Council was informed & sent a Ranger to assess the situation. Apparently the car was leaking petrol & oil into the river. I am unaware as to whether it has been removed yet.
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
The Year of the Forest includes urban forests.
I thought I’d put together a few examples of what other Councils & cities are doing regarding urban forests across the world. After a long period of searching the net using every key word I could think of I have come to the conclusion that, really, apart from a few places, nothing much is being done. Basically I read & reread the same motherhood statements that covered the issue in a bland matter-of-fact way with few quantifiable data of what they will do for 2011.
There are a number of voices out there, including the UN, pushing the benefits of trees & linking the presence of trees to human health, safety & quality of life. Trees are also strongly linked to managing & surviving climate change. I guess as global warming gets more heavy-handed & punches us in the gut a few times, the urgency of planting more trees will hit home. We will see.
Below are a few statements that were part of my search for decent information & include those that said they intended to increase the urban forest & those that challenge some of the attitudes regarding the value & importance of public trees.
- An urban forest is a relatively new & innovative approach to developing space for recreational purposes. The area is not a manicured or ornamental park, but an attempt to recreate an ecosystem that existed before European settlement & urbanisation. ~ City of Stonnington Council Victoria
- The Urban Forests One Million Trees initiative aims to redress the loss of local native biodiversity across metropolitan Adelaide. Urban environments will be
significantly enhanced through increased habitat for our unique flora & fauna as well as improvements in air & water quality. Over a thousand hectares of suitable open space will be planted with a mixture of local trees, bushes & ground-covers creating new urban woodlands as well as helping to buffer, link & protect existing remnant bushland. ~ Hugh Kneebone Adelaide
- Mature trees from over 300 different species fill Canberra. They significantly contribute to the aesthetics & have direct economic value & environmental benefits. The Australian National University has calculated this value at more than $15 million annually including $3.9m annually in energy reduction (less cooling & heating); $7.9m annually for pollution mitigation; & $3.5m annually for storm water mitigation. Trees have also contributed to the reduction in Canberra’s wind speeds by up to 50% from the once open & windy plains & provide a buffer for extreme temperatures. ~ Department of Territory & Municipal Services.
- Brisbane city currently has an estimated 46% tree canopy cover in a 1,330 square kilometre region. 49% of Brisbane’s tree canopy cover is on public land. Brisbane City Council’s goals to increase our urban forest are to plant two million trees by 2012, achieve 40% native forest cover, ensure 50% tree shade cover for footpaths & bikeways by 2026 & transform major entry roads to the city into subtropical boulevards. ~ Brisbane City Council
- Leichhardt’s Urban Forest contributing towards reducing the impacts of climate change & creating a sustainable environment through the protection, restoration &
enhancement of our natural environment & native biodiversity including the urban landscape. Increase the health & extent of the canopy or vegetation cover of the Local Government Area to provide environmental & social benefits. Address climate change locally by increasing the canopy & vegetation to capture carbon, provide shade to reduce ambient temperatures & reduce solar ultraviolet radiation exposure, reduce the impacts of storm water runoff & improve air quality. Increase the habitat provided by the trees & vegetation in our streets, parks, private gardens & urban forest for the wildlife that now exists in an Inner City context. ~ Leichhardt Council
- The City of Sydney’s street trees are one of our most important assets. They make our city beautiful, improve the air by removing carbon dioxide & returning oxygen, enhance property values & provide cooling shade. The City has approximately 29,000 street trees, of over 120 differing species, that are both native and exotic species, evergreen & deciduous & range in age, size & condition. ~ City of Sydney Council.
- Victoria’s urban forest has significant economic value. Trees & shrubs help increase real estate values of homes and encourage customers to linger and shop at local businesses. Trees also reduce stormwater runoff and filter air and water pollutants. And, by shading roads and parking lots, well-placed trees increase the life of asphalt. Victoria’s trees also have a tremendous financial value. Each tree is estimated to be worth at least $2,000. This means the value of trees on City land is over $80 million, and much more when the value of trees on private lands is considered.
- International cities that have recognised the importance of their urban forest are being rewarded with positive social & economic benefits. These include less graffiti, enhanced feelings of security, less crime, healthier residents & more community involvement. ~ Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria
- It is estimated that a tree with a 50-year life span provides nearly US$60,000 of benefit over its lifetime. Other benefits are less easily measured, but not less valuable. An urban forest provides beauty that inspires us, recreation that refreshes us & a contact with nature that lifts our spirits. The aesthetic & inspirational value of an urban forest is incalculable. ~ Burlington Vermont
- The Millennium Forest was a huge programme of urban tree planting & the management of urban woodlands, creating a tremendous increase in the area of woodland in the area. The most ambitious urban forestry project ever undertaken in the UK.
- Trees are major capital assets in cities across the United States. Just as streets, sidewalks, public buildings & recreational facilities are a part of a community’s infrastructure, so are publicly owned trees. Trees — and, collectively, the urban forest — are important assets that require care & maintenance the same as other public property. Trees are on the job 24 hours every day working for all of us to improve our environment & quality of life. ~ Colorado Trees
- In the not-too-distant future, parts of Beijing city center will resemble the deep forest rather than a bustling metropolis, since an international architecture competition decided on a new environmentally-responsible streetscape. Once this year’s Olympics come to an end, pavements will take on the form of a forest floor, walkways will be made from permeable materials, water is to be redirected by catchments at plaza level & from surrounding roof tops & solar panels will generate electricity for adjacent buildings & pedestrian areas. ~ Environmental Graffiti Magazine
I wish you all a happy New Year & hope that not only is 2011 a good year for you, but for trees as well. Thank you for your support. Much happiness. Jacqueline
1. A horrific article about the city of Cancún in Mexico where the climate change
summit was just held. 25 people died when a build-up of methane gases from the rotting mangrove forest buried below the hotel where they were staying blew up. It attracted my attention because of the methane from the Tempe tip land that is being developed. What was once a small fishing village, Cancún now gets 7 million visitors a year. Massive development removed most of the mangroves & the area paved & concreted, then built. Sewerage is deep injected underneath the drinking water aquifer, but is now seeping into the aquifers & into the ocean & damaging the nearby Mesoamerican reef system, the second biggest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. This is a story of ecological disaster due to overdevelopment & is interesting reading. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/09/cancun-mangrove-paradise-megasprawl
2. The community is campaigning to prevent the Los Angeles County from removing 179 coast live oaks & about 70 Sycamores in an 11-acre canyon area so they can spread 500,000 cubic yards of silt, rocks & vegetation scooped out of Santa Anita Reservoir. Many of the trees are 100-years-old & the coast live oaks are not common anymore. “How do you replace a 100-year-old oak tree with a sapling?” http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-oaks-20101204,0,1304653.storypling?”
3. The English government has established the Big Tree Plant campaign. They are about to spend £4.2 million on planting 1 million trees across urban areas over the next 4 years. They are targeting deprived areas saying the trees will improve the quality of people’s lives. “It is almost an accepted wisdom that a property positioned on a pretty tree-lined street surrounded by shrubbery is more appealing than its counterpart on a concrete-clad bare & barren road.” This article speaks about the benefits of trees on wellbeing, mental & physical health, less graffiti, dumping, vandalism & other things. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11889768
4. Community tree group Friends of Trees in Portland US launched a pilot program to help low-income seniors take care of fallen leaves. Community volunteers rake the leaves & take them to a recycling facility helping people who have trouble doing this themselves. I think it is a great idea. Not only is it community minded, but it would also help remove anxiety about the ‘mess’ made by fallen leaves. Leaf litter is high on the list of reasons given why trees are removed from gardens. http://actrees.org/site/news/newsroom/friends_of_trees_launches_program_to_help_ove.php?tag=news
5. Johannesburg, known as the ‘largest man-made forest in the world’ has 6 million trees. Imagine. In contrast Soweto a township of Johannesburg has very few. The Soweto Greening Project is trying to remedy this by planting 6,000 trees since 2006. Their eventual aim is to plant 200,000 trees in Soweto. For comparison, it is estimated that we have 20,000 trees in Marrickville LGA. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/11/18/johannesburg.urban.forest/?hpt=C2
6. Research by the University of Florida has found that ants play a central role in stopping animals from eating trees, including elephants. “Swarming groups of ants that weigh about 5 milligrams each can & do protect trees from animals that are about a billion times more massive.” http://www.physorg.com/news202651455.html
7. The US Geological Survey Texas Water Quality Centre in Austin has found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) used in surface sealers based on coal tar are responsible for the large increase in organic pollutants in lakes, rivers, & streams over the past 40 years. “The thick tarry sealers are widely used in the US to coat blacktop driveways, parking lots & paved portions of playground.” PAHs are known to be carcinogenic. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19829-organic-pollutants-tracked-down-to-us-parking-lots.html
8. A wonderful article debating the Ocean Beach Forrester’s 3 arguments to
remove a healthy Torrey Pine because it is leaning toward the road. “How odd. Instead of thinking of creative ways to rebuild this sidewalk & save this tree, that is an endangered species, the city is thinking of creative ways to scare people into thinking the tree will fall over & must come out.” “… that tree is about 80 feet tall. And, the root systems on these trees are two & a half times their height. At 80 feet tall (23.4 metres), the root system on this tree would be substantial. Fall over? Break maybe if you hit it with a tank! A tree rooted like that isn’t falling; it’s leaning. This tree needs to live because we need our trees. There is no compelling reason to kill this one. We can live around the trees. Our zeal for organization & straight lines needs to allow for some deviations, some curves. Beyond that, this is a living thing & cutting it down would be killing it just to make our lives a little easier.” I think this article could be confronting to many Councils in Australia. http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/peoplespost/nowthatsfunny/article_9bb7eb00-0147-11e0-9bce-001871e39ea8.html
9. A very interesting article from the Seattle Displacement Coalition about
the upcoming Council elections in 2011. They cover many issues. This is some of what they said about trees. I think it’s applicable here. “As we come out of the economic downturn, we need mechanisms in place to preserve our trees, green space, affordable housing & the physical & social character of our neighborhoods — the things that make this city livable — before growth accelerates again to the runaway levels we experienced before the recession hit. There’s something wrong with advocating for open space preservation outside the city but once across the city line, aiding & abetting the pouring of concrete & wiping out of trees, stamping out every last vestige of nature for urban dwellers outside of parks. Good stewardship of our environment begins right here in our own neighborhoods, protecting our trees, preserving space for essential urban gardening, saving urban streams….” http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/5013/
10. The following comes from an Editorial in the Glen Ridge Voice in
response to a recent Tree Commission about overseeing the health & well-being of the borough’s publicly-owned shade trees. I have lifted a section that again demonstrates the difference in the way Americans view public trees. “In return, we encourage the public to heed some of the borough’s advice about tree care – don’t pile up too much mulch around the base, go easy on the fertilizer use & keep the weed-whackers away from the tree (those things really hurt). And please, ask questions & raise concerns if you have them. We can’t say it enough: Gen Ridge needs its trees. After all, it is a tree that forms part of the town’s seal, along with the equally iconic gas lamps. We call upon the council & the shade tree commission’s members to do right by those trees & the people who benefit from them.” Inspiring words. http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/111579264_Keep_us_in_the_shade___and_the_sun.html
11. Trees take up air space. 3 Pin oak trees are the centre of a row where the company that owns the 1st story of a garage & the air space want the trees removed because they ‘could damage the property.’ The garage, (ground floor) is owned by the state. Neither the state nor the community wants the healthy trees removed except the company that owns the airspace. http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Town-contests-tree-removal-866880.php
12. The full-length indie film ‘The Future of Food’ by Deborah Koons Garcia “provides an overview of the key questions raised by consumers as they become aware of genetically modified foods.” You can watch ‘The Future of Food’ for free by clicking here – http://bit.ly/fJZtNX