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Urban trees provide real benefits

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Richmond Times-Dispatch : Correspondent of the Day

Urban trees provide real benefits

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

A recent news story discussed the distress many people felt when a stand of trees was cut down during construction of the Redskins’ training camp. I am an environmentalist, not a preservationist. I am not against development or change, but both should be done in a responsible and sustainable manner. The removal of that maturing stand of trees reduced carbon sequestering, increased solar radiation in the area, increased storm water run-off and decreased particle absorption from the atmosphere. These are not subjective losses, but are quantified by research conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, International Society of Arborists and National Arbor Day Foundation.

We have plundered the natural ecosystem in the development of urban areas. We have polluted our waters with contaminants, created heat islands by the reduction of tree canopies and diminished the livability of our areas. When construction is complete we replant and try to recreate what was destroyed, but the installed trees do not provide benefits for many years. With soil structure destroyed and compaction from construction activity, the planted trees are installed in soils that may not allow them to live more than a few years or not allow them to reach the size of the destroyed trees.

I held the certified arborist position on the city of Richmond’s Urban Forest Commission for two years. The commission was formed because of public pressure resulting from mismanagement of the city’s urban forest. Commission members were led to believe that our advice would be followed, but often when projects were under way our advice was ignored and the same old practices were followed and the urban forest suffered. Communications between city agencies was lacking, and as a result citizens from the city and surrounding areas suffer.

Joel Koci. Rockville.


Written by vaphc

March 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Local, Urban Forestry

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