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  • What ever happened to simply doing the right thing? You are so right! I spoke with the City of Decatur Planner and she actually agreed on tree preservation but told me builders and developers are there every day where are my people? So guess what, we are organizing, I never want to be asked that again and not to be able to hand over a list of names. Stay tuned. In regards to doing the right thing, I have been told if you leave a $100 bill on the street, and it gets picked up, whose fault is it? So I am taking this personally, and make sure the $100 bill gets returned to rightful owner and not by some stranger, but to accomplish that requires community pressure. In regards to valuation, we are also getting better at that using 9th edition plant appraisal and itree ecosystem benefits (carbon sequestration, air pollution removal, water interception). Lets work on a way to present these values in an official and organized way.
  • If there are no examples, it is time to start creating some. I am starting to reach out to the builder community to build around trees with grade and still make money. It is possible, it used to be done in the 50's before slab development and heavy equipment that obliterates every inch of a lot including the trees and soil that surrounds them. My intuition is that it can be done with basements to avoid grade changes, more hand digging or less intensive equipment (shovels, bobcats, etc.) and using piers and elevated pervious decks to avoid compaction. There is one school that wanted to have a playground but to get to the playground the kids needed to tromp through 50 yards of mature forest. The designer had the foresight to build elevated wooden walkways out to the playground. The trees loved it and so did the kids.
  • Perhaps I should ask the question a different way. When is enough enough? Trailing is a link to a story where three heavily wooded lots which were once single family homes are being cleared for 25 townhouses - in a city that has serious traffic problems and over crowded schools.

    A sad part of this story is that neighbor's trees are at risk (because their roots dared crossing the property line). Even more sad is the fact that the community's tree ordinance is powerless in preventing the carnage. Developers pay to play!
    • We experienced tremendous in-fill and redevelopment before the recession. The trend of development is partially dependent on the politicians from mayors to city councils and even to volunteer boards. These people have to be elected. We as arborist have a duty to organize on local levels and support candidates that have trees and the environment as priorities. We cannot expect municipal arborist to fight this battle. The layers of government bureaucracy make municipal arborist ineffective as advocates. We also need to take advantage of our contacts with the community. You can have the best ordinance but with out citizen support it is just words on paper. One thing I would recommend is having a canopy analysis performed. Place a monetary value on the trees. Our code was amended to include a canopy analysis every five years. This code amendment was supported by the Builders Association, although their reasons are much different than our goal. They hope to show that the city is not losing canopy so they can remove more trees. We hope to show we are losing canopy and money. It also helps identify areas that might need stronger protection while other areas might be well stocked and less restrictions. There is so much involved in a very complex topic.
      • I agree that addressing this issues requires a committed base of citizen support. It is so unfortunate that it always comes down to monetary value. We have to prove that the trees have a value worth saving (in real dollars), we have to prove that canopy is being lost. What ever happened to simply doing the right thing? Where is our environmental ethic?
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