Mature trees are a valuable asset to a city not only for aesthetic reasons and air pollution abatement. The canopies, trunks and roots provide nutrition and homes to a diverse community of birds, mammals, invertebrates, fungi and plants. A healthy root system provides soil stability, reduces erosion and eases the burden on storm sewers. Some studies have shown that replacement trees are 70 percent less environmentally impactful than larger trees.
It is truly sad to hear there is “no old growth around here” which, by definition, means no trees over an age of at least 150 years. If this is the case, the city should be implementing measures to protect our oldest trees, so that in a hundred years a child, without travelling to a remote part of BC, can actually see how large an old growth tree can become. If it is not feasable to protect the largest trees on private property, then it may be necessary for the city to purchase that land or convince landowners to donate such pieces of land to the city in exchange for some tax relief. Additionally, when the city plants a new tree or makes a developer do so, it should ensure that that the land below the tree is prepared properly to ensure that the tree can remain standing for at least 150 years.
What is the point in planting a tree if we only expect it to be viable for 30 or 40 years? Creating an environmentally sustainable city takes a political will that has been lacking for decades.
(April 17, 2011)
(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)
Resources for Adults Completing High School