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1.     Not trees, but birds & too important to ignore .… in an X-File type event, more

What not to do to a street tree

than 4,000 Red Winged Blackbirds rained down dead on a small town called Beebe in Arkansas US on New Year’s Eve & for about a hour into New Year’s Day. The cause of the mass death is unknown at this stage, but fireworks are one of the theories.  Officials say the bird death “is not related to the 83,000 fish that died a few days earlier in the western part of the state, the biggest fish kill in Arkansas that anyone can remember.” 19-years ago, 2-dozen dead ducks fell out of the sky in the same place. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/us/04beebe.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

And another article with video that also mentions 500 red-winged blackbirds, starlings & grackles were found dead in southern Louisiana in Labarre.” http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/01/03/arkansas.falling.birds/index.html?hpt=C1

2.   Not trees either, but environmentally important …. Italy, which uses about 20 billion plastic bags a year & is responsible for 25% of plastic bag production in Europe has banned the single-use plastic bag from 1st January 2011.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/03/italy-bans-plastic-bags_n_803686.html

3.     Finished with your live Christmas tree?  Want to dispose of it?  Instead of sending it to landfill or being made into woodchips if you are lucky, how about giving it to the fish?  An ingenious program by ‘Keep Bartow Beautiful’ uses discarded live Christmas trees to create fish habitat in Allatoona Lake in Cartersville Georgia. I could see a modified version working in a number of places next to the mangroves along the Cooks River. http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978841747

4.     If you are interested in green architecture, the following is a 4-building educational complex designed by Gpp Architects for University College Nordjylland that will be built in Aalborg, Denmark. The buildings are fully sustainable with green roofs, real trees inside, a central green space connecting all buildings & uses natural sunlight.  It shows what can be done to create a large building, yet make it sustainable & very people friendly. I would call this a placemaking building in the true sense.  http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/gpp-architects-unveil-plan-for-a-sustainable-educational-complex-in-denmark/

5.    The UK went into shock last December 2010 when it was revealed that the

Brushbox trees in Marrickville

conservative government was seriously considering selling off “all state-owned English trees across the commission’s 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms & sporting estates.” So far, 112,844 people have signed an online petition to stop the sale of the forests to private companies.  I hope the British government backs down on this plan. The forests, woodlands & heaths are integral to the beauty of Britain & it is unthinkable that they could be lost. Like there are war crimes, there should be government crimes.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/dec/22/tory-privatisation-all-state-forests

6.   A number of Ornamental Pear trees were vandalized to preserve the view of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque.  “The top half of the tree is gone. This is not some kid – this is someone with a saw & a 10 to 12 foot ladder cutting the top of the tree off.” Vandalism for views seems to be increasing the world over. There is a short news video.  http://ht.ly/3sKGM

7.    This is a wonderful opinion piece about a healthy Torrey Pine at Ocean Beach,

Very dead

San Diego in the US that the authorities want to remove because it is leaning.   The tree is about 20 metres (80 foot) high & has a 1.2 metres (4 foot) girth.  A root is lifting up the footpath. It’s a great article as the writer brings up many good points trying to defeat the arguments to remove the tree which are mostly for convenience. “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.” http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/peoplespost/nowthatsfunny/article_9bb7eb00-0147-11e0-9bce-001871e39ea8.html

8.     Muhammed Yousuf Jamil, a Lance Naik (Lance Corporal) in the Pakistani Army set a new Guinness World Record by planting 20,101 saplings in 18.40 hours.  It would have been higher except that 40 saplings were deemed poorly planted & disqualified form the count.  Amazing.  He must be so fit.  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/09/pakistani-soldier-plants-20101-trees-in-one-day-new-world-record.php

9.   A small, mummified wood uncovered by a melting glacier in the northernmost Arctic reaches of Canada is hoped to provide clue about how the Arctic will respond to global warming. The trees are at least 2-million years old.  Interestingly, the wood can still be burnt. http://www.livescience.com/environment/mummified-forest-arctic-climate-change-101216.html

10.  Wi-fi has been connected to the death of trees in the Netherlands, then unconnected. The verdict is still out. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20025410-94.html

11.   The International Union for Conservation of Nature & other researchers have drawn up a world map showing 1.5 billion hectares where there are opportunities to replant degraded or cleared forests. The area if put together would be almost the size of Russia. “Three quarters of the world’s forests have been cleared, degraded or fragmented due to human activity, while a third have disappeared altogether, according to IUCN.” http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/12/13/forest.restoration/index.html?hpt=C2

12.   Greenpeace & Finland’s indigenous Saami reindeer herders have won an 8-year battle to preserve 80% of 107,000 hectares of pine forests in northern Finland. The area is grazing land for the reindeer & includes tracts of old growth forest.   http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1215-hobbs_finland_forest.html

13.  Recent research by the US Forest Service found that that areas with large trees, both in front & backyards, had lower levels of crime. We believe that large street trees can reduce crime by signaling to a potential criminal that a neighborhood is better cared for &, therefore, a criminal is more likely to be caught.” There you have it. Large trees lower crime. This has been found with other research & is just another reason why we benefit from larger street trees.  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/11/big-trees-may-make-communities-safer-says-study.php

14.  Sudden Oak Death has killed at least 1-million trees in California causing an imbalance in the ecosystem. This imbalance is thought to be linked to an increase in Lyme Disease. http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_16898493?nclick_check=1

Here is an interesting fact to be held in the back of your mind for the time when the question comes up in Trivial Pursuit – Apparently Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are 50-years old.

Petersham tree and powerlines

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Community tree preservation groups Save Our Figs Wauchope & Save Our Figs Group have a big fight on their hands with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council who intend to remove 13 Fig trees in the town centre “to prevent future damage to private property & public infrastructure.” The roots of the Fig trees are presenting a trip hazard & 3 residents have complained of damage to their property they say was caused by the trees.

These 2 massive Figs next to Marrickville Youth Resources Centre enhance the building & the area.

Thing is, the Council have just completed major works on the streets with the trees described as the centerpiece.  Importantly, 3 years ago the community fought to retain these trees & won.

Now the threat of litigation has reared its head & if history is anything to go by, a very small number of people are going to get their way & have the trees removed.  Council can’t take the risk that people will start litigation in the future.

A couple of days ago I posted that Goondiwindi Regional Council chopped down healthy Fig trees despite community opposition.  It’s the same story.  Now that the trees are gone, the Council has made the decision to spend $96,000 on floating footpaths.  They are doing this now because they, “understand how important these trees are to residents.”

Using floating footpaths means the trees can grow normally. There is no need to cut off or shave down roots, nor cover them in bitumen.  Nor will they need to chop the trees down because of a trip hazard or damage to footpaths. Seems like sensible spending to me.  Given that any large healthy tree can be worth around $100,000, spending money to keep them is a good economic decision.

This Fig is literally holding the building up. There is no visible damage to the exterior of the building

The large street trees in the centre of both these towns are what bring beauty & a sense of place. The towns use their street trees as a tourist draw card.  The Fig trees also provide a tangible history & are held dear by most of the community.

Take the trees away & you have substantially changed a place. Not only have you removed things that are worth a great deal of money & with 13 Figs we are talking in excess of a million dollars, but their loss will have an impact on spending in the shops. Researchers have concluded 11% more money is spent in shopping areas where there are big healthy shady trees.  To their credit Port Macquarie-Hastings Council plans to replace the Figs with 11 advanced Brush Box trees.

My question is why don’t Councils or organizations take pre-emptive action on their big trees when the trees are in areas that could damage property or cause trip hazards?  Ultimately it is worth the financial outlay when one considers how much these trees are worth in a monetary sense. Then there are all the other factors to take into consideration, history, place, future, community cohesion (fights like these in small towns could escalate into severe divisions), trust in the Council/organisation & stating the obvious, climate change.

These roots have infiltrated a parking area. I found it interesting is to see that the roots didn't travel far from the tree despite its size. It has been like this for years & the tree is still healthy even though cars park on the roots, proving it is unnecessary to remove a tree when this happens. It might look unsightly, but the tree itself is gorgeous.

Root barriers can be put in place.  Sewerage & water pipes can be replaced with pipes that can’t be invaded by tree roots or re-routed & be done with the problem forever. In Canada, they use a system that allows pipes to be replaced without digging, disturbing or damaging tree roots. They use a water flushing vacuum system to remove the soil from around the roots, pipes or wires, then install the new pipes & put the soil back in.

You don’t even need to put in concrete foundations near a tree when you are building anymore.  Again in Canada, they insert giant steel screw piles into the ground that are just as stable as concrete foundations & require no digging.

There is also a high-density plastic grid system that I have seen used in Sydney.  Once laid over the ground the grid disperses the weight of vehicles over a larger area. The grid also prevents soil compaction, which can damage roots.  Best of all, the grid allows rainwater to permeate the soil, reducing the need for irrigation & improves storm-water management. Ground cover or other plants can be grown in the spaces within the grid.

The grid also prevents soil erosion. I can see these grids used to support riverbanks & to create cement-free car parks. They could also be used to channel water into the ground near a street tree rather than be wasted by pouring down drains.  There is no reason why a section of the gutter cannot be a grid.

There is also porous concrete used across City of Sydney & North Sydney Councils.  Porous concrete provides a seamless surface allowing people to walk across it, but still captures any rainwater that falls on it, watering the tree.

There are quite a number of beautiful Figs in Marrickville LGA & many of them are planted near buildings. Unfortunately many of these trees live in less than perfect conditions with cement & bitumen almost to the base of their trunk. Many have cars & trucks parked right next to them. As we have seen, it is only a matter of time before branches get gouged or broken off by trucks.

Canary Island Palms line Graham Avenue Marrickville. I hope these trees are heritage protected.

The only reason why money isn’t spent on protecting trees before problems start is that trees are not held in high importance or the Council is so strapped for money that understandably, urban forest issues get moved down the list of priorities.

Many Councils do hold their trees in high esteem & look after them. They use floating footpaths & permeable rubber surfaces or permeable ‘solid’ surfaces. They put garden beds around trees to prevent or limit the amount of vehicles that can park under them. They put ‘no parking’ signs for vehicles over a certain size & weight & they do other things like prune dead branches & normal die back. They probably feed them occasionally as well.

I would do all of the above & if property damage occurred with people saying get rid of the tree/s, I would think it is the community’s & Council’s best interest to fix the damage (within reason, once proof & access has been given to Council) & put things in place to ensure the problem won’t repeat itself.  Too many people & future generations miss out for cracks to walls & pipes, both which are easily fixed without costing as high as the value of losing a tree.

Trees are the only things Councils own that increase in value each year.

I have written about clay soils & how they affect buildings at – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/clay-soil/

You can read both stories at the following links –http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/lastditch-figs-effort/1874281.aspx

http://www.goondiwindiargus.com.au/news/local/news/general/tree-choppers-are-really-tree-huggers/1872430.aspx

Sign alerting construction workers & view of the tree protection zone

I went to visit Enmore Park after hearing that 31 trees had been chopped down for the construction of the new Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre.  Not being familiar with this park, I am not aware which trees were chopped down, but the ones which are staying are those I noticed before I heard about the tree loss.  I am pleased to say that all the particularly old trees in the corner near the pool are still standing & it is obvious these trees are not to be targeted for removal.

Marrickville Council has fenced off trees within the construction area to protect the trees & their roots from damage & have large signs alerting builders to mind the trees.

The Aquatic Centre itself is going to be amazing.  No doubt about this in my mind.  It’s huge, modern & the design looks exciting even though development has a while to go. I think this new pool complex is going to be a boon to the community.

If you want to read a nice story about win/win for tree & development, Nick Kuhn, an American Arborist wrote about his work saving a giant White Oak known as ‘The Birthing Tree’ from being chopped down for development.  It’s a short story, but a good one.  It shows what can be done with patience, determination & cooperation by developers. http://treestories.davey.com/#/stories/2010/05/a-tree-i-saved.aspx

Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre under construction

I read in the May newsletter of the Marrickville Heritage Society that local resident Michael Pearce passed away on 28th April 2010 after a long illness.   I am quite sad about this.  Michael was one of the residents who addressed Marrickville Councillors on 11th August 2009 in the campaign to save the 2 magnificent Hills Fig trees in Mackey Park Marrickville South.

Mackey Park Fig Trees

Michael was very supportive of the campaign to save these trees & kindly agreed to allow me to publish his speech to Council in SoT.  This was very important to me as I desperately wanted these trees to be retained & SoT was only 2 months old at that stage.  His support meant a lot to me & I was & still am enormously grateful.

He did help save the Mackey Park Figs & I hope he felt good whenever he saw them when he visited or passed Mackey Park.  He knew the history of the park well as he had been going there since he was a young man.  It was a pleasure to know Michael. He was full of verve & integrity.  My thoughts go to his family.

Quite a few people have searched this site for Michael’s speech. This prompted me to add a more visible search box now located at the top of the left-hand column.  You can read Michael’s speech by clicking on the following link- https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/17th-august-09-another-residents-speech-to-council/

Gloriously beautiful trees which are a huge asset to Newcastle

The community tree preservation group Save Our Figs (SoF) based in Newcastle NSW has an acute issue that is about to be decided upon by Newcastle City Council.  The Council wants to remove 13 eighty year old Hill’s Figs that line Laman Street & top Civic Park.  SoF has been lobbying Newcastle Council to search for other options rather than chop down these phenomenally beautiful Fig trees & replace them with trees that Newcastle Council have not nominated as yet.

From the SoF petition – Laman Street is Newcastle’s most beautiful street. Newcastle City Council believes the 13 figs in the street are likely to fall down in the next 5 – 15 years. They have based this on the advice of a single arborist.  The council is considering no other option than felling the trees & we believe alternatives need to be examined such as closing the street to vehicles &/or pedestrians or closing the street in storms. As it is a non-residential & non-commercial street the chance of injury by a falling tree is remote & the trees are an integral part of Newcastle’s identity.

and I complained about hammering nails into trees....

We don’t have a comparable tree site in Marrickville LGA.  Newcastle has many Fig trees, but the Laman Street avenue of Fig trees, being in the centre of town, are truly memorable because they are particularly beautiful trees.  Naturally, when a Council wants to remove trees like these that have so much history behind them, the community is going to be upset.  I doubt there would be many people in Newcastle who don’t know the Laman Street Fig trees & most hold them dear to their heart.

I have been in regular contact with Caitlin Raschke who runs Save Our Figs since the campaign started. Over Easter, we visited & went to look at the Fig trees in Laman Street.  I hadn’t seen them in 23 years, which was the last time I went to this street as part of my employment at that time. I remember how stunned I was when the taxi dropped me off & I looked up at these fantastic trees.  They haven’t changed & the feeling you get when you stand in Laman Street had just as much impact this time as it did all those years ago.  The only thing that had changed was Civic Park, which to my mind, had deteriorated significantly.  Apart from the fantastic fountain, much of Civic Park seems uncared for, particularly the memorial grove for fallen soldiers & there seemed to be less trees than I remember.

I also saw Tyrell Street, which lost a few Hill’s Figs during a major storm a few years ago.  Newcastle Council removed a number of Figs along this street & replaced them with Tuckaroos.  To me, the result looks like a scar.

Is this a practice stump? It's located the beginning of the avenue of spectacular Hills Figs in Laman Street

It is heartbreaking to think that the Laman Street Hill’s Fig trees will be chopped down.  I am in total agreement with Caitlin when she says everything possible should be done to save these iconic trees.

In Europe & especially America this would happen as a norm.  All sorts of options would be canvassed & money would be spent to save & care for trees like these which give so much back to the community in terms of air quality, carbon sequestration, pollution removal, beauty, history & homes & food for wildlife, including bats.  Just last night I was reading how Fig trees can be stabilized & the risk of them falling can be dramatically reduced by using peat-filled pipes.  These days some Councils chop off the roots that grow from the branches of Fig trees & descend to the ground.  It is these roots the tree uses to stabilize itself, as it grows larger.  If you put peat-filled pipes from the root stumps along the branches, the tree will rapidly grow new roots down through the pipe & into the ground.  Isn’t nature clever?  I guess, in time, you could cut open & remove the pipe if it was made from PVC.

Laman Street is very popular for wedding photographs because the street trees are so beautiful

The Laman Street Fig trees also provide a strong sense of presence to such central & important buildings such as the Art Gallery & others located here.  Importantly, the trees provide a popular place to get married & have wedding photos taken. Later, their children can still see, touch & play where Mum & Dad were on their wedding day.  I know this is a strong emotion for many people because of the feedback I have received about the St Stephen’s Hill’s Fig in Newtown. Those who had their wedding photo taken under this tree love it in a special & strong way.  The tree or trees gets incorporated into the story of the relationship/marriage.  This is not surprising because human beings have always associated trees with strength, longevity & wisdom & this is easily transferred over to hopes surrounding a marriage.

I must say that, like only a few people outside the LGA know how beautiful our Cooks River really is, not many people know how beautiful Newcastle is.  I wanted to pack up & move to Cooks Hill immediately.  The beaches are stunning & wild, the streets are clean, the traffic is not like traffic, droves of people were out in the sunshine, the cafés were full to bursting & the trees, well I could go on about them for hours.  Newcastle is a naturally beautiful place because of the hills, the river & the beaches. But without all those large & spectacular trees in parks & on roadsides it wouldn’t be as beautiful.  Newcastle could be called the City of Fig Trees because they have so many gorgeous Fig trees scattered about.  In my opinion, these trees make this city special.

Please pay a visit to Save Our Figs. There is an online petition open to anyone who cares about these trees. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/laman-street-figs.html 2,500 Newcastle residents have already signed both a paper petition & the online petition & that is 2% of the Newcastle community.

Like Saving Our Trees, there has been no advertising.  It has been all word of mouth, which I think makes it stronger as a community campaign.  There are no bells & whistles to draw people in, just a love for trees & a wish that trees be saved from the chain-saw.

I would read http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/ from the beginning. But if you find this idea too time consuming, the following pages are notable.   Caitlin’s reply to a comment gives a run down on the history of the community campaign in the following link – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/barcelona-just-as-barbaric-as-newcastle/

The Save Our Figs home page also gives a timeline of what has been happening during the campaign – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/

You can read the follow-up post  written on 1st September 2010 about the Independent Arborist Report by clicking here  https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/independent-arborist-report-for-newcastles-laman-street-figs/

7th October 2011 – As this seems to be the post people are coming for information, the following posts offer more recent posts about the Laman Street Figs starting with the Councillors vote to kill the trees  –

10th October 2011 – Newcastle community fights to save the Laman Strett Street Figs – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/newcastle-community-fight-to-save-the-laman-street-fig-trees/

4th October 2011 – The final vote is to kill the trees.  https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/newcastle-councillors-vote-to-kill-the-laman-street-fig-trees/

13th September 2011-  The Figs get some fairness – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/laman-street-figs-get-some-fairness/

29th August 2011 – Not mulch yet – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/not-mulch-yet/

26th August 2011 – Laman Street Figs Next Life will be Mulch – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/the-laman-street-figs-next-life-will-be-mulch/

3rd August 2011 – Mediation for the Figshttps://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/mediation-for-laman-street-fig-trees/

26th August 2011 – The Newcastle Councillors voted on the fate of the Laman Street Figs last night – http://bit.ly/n1BNrK

Tree-lined shopping strip in Newcastle CBD - This is what I would like our shopping strips in Marrickville LGA to look like - proof it can be done

Cooks Hill Newcastle with Stockton in the distance - note the many large street trees

Does anyone know what has happened to the 2 or 3 Hills Figs on the new IKEA site Princes Highway Tempe?  Last time I drove past, the Hills Figs were gone & the Morton Bay Fig was standing alone with all the ground surrounding the edge of its canopy excavated. Marrickville Heritage Society told me IKEA said they would be relocating this tree, but they don’t know what has happened with the other trees.

These trees are not ordinary.  As far as I know they are in the small group of  the oldest remaining trees in Marrickville LGA.  I hope the others are okay.

I will write to Marrickville Council to see if they are aware of what is/has happened to these trees & what the plans for them are.

Top: Heritage Morton Bay Fig with Hills Figs in the background. The photo doesn't show, but all these trees are massive in size & height. Bottom: view of the lone Morton Bay Fig from the Salvation Army Depot Tempe. The Hills Figs have gone. Does anyone know where?

After 110 days Richard Pennicuik has come down voluntarily from his tree sit-in protest. Amazingly, City of Gosnells Council still intends to chop this tree down despite the tree proving itself to be sturdy by not falling down during last Monday’s severe storm that caused $200 million of damage. Well done!  Whatever you think about the tree, you really must admire the strength & determination of a man who is prepared to suffer for his principles.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/tree-man-richard-pennicuik-comes-down-from-his-tree/story-e6frg13u-1225846031467

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/newshome/6986524/tree-mans-protest-ending-report/

Alexis, Roman, Paris & Noah are going to lose their mark on the neighbourhood because this tree has got to go

Apart from the 3 trees in Ivanhoe Street, there is also a Fig tree up for removal in Steele Park Marrickville South.  I received the following information about this tree.  Unfortunately, this tree should be removed as it will become dangerous.  Thankfully, it will be replaced with a Moreton Bay Fig.  Thanks to Marrickville Council for the following information.

The removal of the tree is necessary as there has been a failure of one of multiple trunks attached at ground level. All of these trunks have major inclusions associated with a large amount of end-weight producing a significant lever-arm stress. This was the cause of failure of the subject trunk. Additionally the failure exposed a large amount of root crown decay at & below ground level.

The present structural defects associated with the root crown decay & the exposure to further decay by way of the large wound make the retention of the tree unmanageable.  The tree is close enough to no. 16 Thornley St for it to present an unacceptable risk of failure & property damage at some point in the future.  It is proposed to be replaced with a Moreton Bay Fig of size 100L or greater.

Don’t forget, the deadline for submissions regarding the 3 street trees in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville South closes this coming Monday 8th March.  Please send in a submission asking these trees be retained if you agree.  You can read about them here –https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/4-trees-up-for-removal-in-marrickville-south/

The post contains a hyperlink directly to council’s web-site where you can write your submission.

Fig at Steele Park that is to be removed - you can see it has already lost one branch

I ask that you put in a submission even if the trees are not located near you.  All tree removal has an impact on the green canopy of Marrickville LGA.  This month it’s Marrickville South, next month it may be Camperdown, Newtown or Dulwich Hill.

Just last month, Marrickville Council put up their Tree Strategy Issues Paper for the Councillors to vote on.  Had they voted to pass the paper, we would now be losing 1,000 mature trees a year for the next 5 years.

A pie chart in the document showed Council wants to remove 59% of the public trees across Marrickville LGA.  I was shocked when I read this.

The Tree Strategy Issues Paper is to return to the Councillors for voting 5 or so months from now.  If Council thought it was reasonable to recommend the removal of 59% of its trees, I would think it is likely they will continue to push for a great percentage to be removed.  If this is indeed what happens, the community will be required to put in many submissions if we want a chance of retaining these trees.

It would be great if we supported each street, each area when each comes under threat, even if we don’t live there, because the lumberjacks will be in your area & perhaps your street eventually.  This is one issue where the community could seriously help & benefit each other without much time & effort.

A submission need not be a large document.  It can be a few lines, a paragraph or more & you can write whatever you want.  I have noticed that submissions received from the community are taken seriously both by Council staff & the Councillors.

If just 1% of the LGA sent in a submission, not only would we probably set a record for mail submissions, we would also probably rewrite the agenda when it comes to greening the LGA.

If we do nothing, then we are going to be living in an area where 59% of our trees will be gone, which will affect us in many ways   (see the pages 100 Tree Facts & About Street Trees on this site for more information about this).

Another serious effect of denuding the LAG of mature trees is our urban wildlife who will be drastically affected.  Much of the current trees do not provide food or shelter for them.  I doubt they could withstand the removal of so many trees.  Imagine no birds, except maybe the resiliant Indian Mynas.  Imagine no possums.

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 – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/what-s-killing-box-hill-s-trees/

& the second follow-up article here – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dying-trees-may-be-over-100-years-old-council-confirms-trees-poisoned/

Energy Australia is getting more negative publicity this time from the  Inner West Courier. http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/wrights-rd-drummoyne-ruined-days-after-resurfacing/

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 – http://www.lgtra.com/in-the-news/7-council/61-tree-preservation-order-fines-highlight-need-for-awareness.html

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.

http://www.torchpublishing.com.au/read/Valley_Times_4_February_2010/index.html

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.

http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/residents-cant-see-the-trees-for-deforest/

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.

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