Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Case for Trees

After a week that saw the destruction of several mature trees in Hudson, I went looking for a document that outlined cogently and compellingly the importance of trees in the built environment. The search discovered a brochure entitled The Case for Trees, published by the Forestry Commission England. This image is from that brochure:

The Case for Trees explains the contributions of trees in combating climate change and to the environment, as well as the economic and social benefits of trees. Some of the information is specific to England, but the first eleven pages, which make the case for trees, are universal. Here are two memorable quotes: 
  • "Trees create and sustain community wealth."
  • "Trees strengthen and improve people's lives." 


  1. Of course trees generally improve the environment. But not every mature tree deserves to stay -- I had a building destroyed when the top 40 feet of a white pine fell onto it in a nasty windstorm and so I removed the four pines like it that were other accidents waiting to happen; and I removed a mature hemlock from behind my house because there was an endless drip and constant shade that encouraged the growth of moss and mold on my roof and eaves.

    It is not a crime to edit the plants including the large ones.

  2. A book I wrote and is currently being edited in New York by Sterling is "The Language of the Sacred Trees," about not only the environmental value of trees, but also their great cultural, poetic, artistic, and spiritual importance in history. Expect it to be published in early 2012.

  3. In general there does not seem to be much regard for nature around here. The corner and 1st and Union could have been preserved with a smaller development, the waterfront could also be improved with the elimination of the industrial use of the land down there. Abandoned factories could be removed and converted to park, or a mixed park recreational, a community pool would benefit the community here - hot as it is who wants to swim in a mucky pond surrounded by street runoff. "Progress" in most places seems to be defined by new construction and destruction of nature. It's backwards thinking if you ask me.

  4. If those trees were in danger of causing harm to person and/or property, Mr. Galloway might have a case for such a brazen act of destruction. But they did not. In fact, protections for Heritage Trees, like the Spruces Mr. Galloway disposed of, are something many cities and countries have made legally binding. Millions of people across cultures as disparate as India & England have no problem recognizing the intrinsic historic, economic, social, and aesthetic value of trees touching us from antiquity, and as such have made the effort to legally protect them from the zealotry of the ignorant. The larger spruce we lost on Lower Union was far more than just "mature".