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Greening Article in the Christian Science Monitor Gets It Partially Right

  • Subject: [cg] Greening Article in the Christian Science Monitor Gets It Partially Right
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 13:49:55 EDT

Hi, 

The Christian Science Montor headline  reads, " man bites dog" - in this case 
that trees and community greening are good things.  Maybe a few letters to 
the Christian Science Monitor on how neighborhood community greening like 
community gardening is the full story.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman 


Planting trees 
 By Ross Atkin 
 The Christian Science Monitor
 http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0416/p13s02-lihc.html
 
 A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but Gary Moll of American Forests, a 
 conservation group, would like to see more of them there - and in 
 Dallas, Des Moines, and Detroit as well.
 
 But the reality is that just the opposite is happening. Over the past 15 
 years, the number of trees in many US cities has declined by about 30 
 percent, while the space covered by concrete and other solid surfaces 
 has risen by 20 percent, says Mr. Moll.
  
 He estimates that to redress the imbalance, metropolitan areas need 634 
 million more trees.
 
 That's a lot of new trees, especially in a time of belt-tightening 
 municipal budgets. But in some cities, such as Atlanta and Detroit, 
 volunteer groups are stepping in to help - planting and caring for trees 
 on public land, and educating the public about why they matter.
 
 Trees are natural pollution-control devices. They absorb carbon dioxide 
 (a byproduct of burning fossil fuels) and return oxygen to the air. 
 Their leaves, branches, and and trunks help slow the runoff of storm 
 water.
 
 They also provide sound buffering, shade, and measurably cooler 
 temperatures on hot summer days, and breeding and roosting places for 
 local and migratory birds, whose habitat has been disappearing.
 
 The savings that result from these environmental benefits can really add 
 up. Research has shown that substantial increases in the number of city 
 trees can reduce storm-water and pollution-control expenditures by 
 millions of dollars.
 
 Unfortunately, there's more involved than simply planting more trees. 
 Cities also have to keep them alive - and that can sometimes be a 
 problem.
 
 In some cases, as with elms, disease has been a factor. Generally, 
 though, much of the problem stems from lax maintenance, outright 
 neglect, and stressful growing conditions.
 
 Think big
 
 One solution, practiced by The Greening of Detroit, is to avoid tiny 
 saplings and instead plant good-sized trees. Most of the 35,000 trees 
 planted by the nonprofit group over the past 13 years have been about 12 
 feet tall.
 
 A tree this size, says Rebecca Salminen Witt , executive director of the 
 organization, makes a more immediate impact and stands a better chance 
 of survival.
 
 Landscape architect Henry Arnold of Princeton, N.J., likes to think of 
 trees as beautiful, economical public utilities. Often, however, they 
 are shortchanged in planning underground infrastructure, and as a 
 result, wind up crowded for space. "Trees are not looked upon with the 
 same seriousness as other utilities," he says.
 
 This is beginning to change as word spreads that tree size and longevity 
 count more than quantity. "The benefit of an urban tree is proportional 
 to its crown size or volume," Mr. Arnold explains. "One tree that lasts 
 50 years is worth more than 20 trees that last only 10 years."
 
 Consequently, attention is shifting toward doing a better job of 
 improving growing conditions. To thrive, city trees need better soil and 
 more of it than they commonly receive, plus good drainage and aeration.
 
 When trees are planted too hastily, without proper attention to soil and 
 selection, they may never mature or produce the desired benefits. In 
 fact, many live only seven to 10 years.
 
 "A lot of community groups like to push tree planting because it's fun 
 and easy to get the public involved," says Jim Cothrel, president of the 
 Society of Municipal Arborists. "But if you don't maintain the trees, 
 you can end up with a lot of headaches and potential hazards."
 
 Education, therefore, is a priority for organizations like The Greening 
 of Detroit and Trees Atlanta, which teach neighborhood volunteers proper 
 aftercare, from pruning to watering.
 
 In both cities, the goal is to maintain each tree three or four years 
 after being planted, while it's getting established. Ideally, community 
 groups that plant trees shoulder this responsibility.
 
 "We ask our planting partners to sign maintenance agreements," says Ms. 
 Witt, "but practically speaking, it doesn't always get done."
 
 The effort is backstopped, therefore, by a small full-time staff and by 
 the Green Corps, trained high school summer workers.
 
 In order to have trees planted, neighborhood groups must have a water 
 supply (even if it's just permission to use someone's garden hose), and 
 generally a willingness to do some modest fundraising. "We find that 
 encourages them to take better care of the trees," Witt says.
 
 In the case of Chicago, the mayor has taken the lead in crusading for 
 trees. Disappointed by the city's defoliated landscape and urban heat 
 islands (summer hot zones), Richard M. Daley vowed to plant half a 
 million trees upon taking office in 1989.
 
 His recollection of growing up when the city had a magnificent canopy of 
 elm trees led to dusting off Chicago's long-ignored motto, urbs in horto 
 ("City in a Garden"), which dates to 1837.
 
 The city is so committed to this identity that nearly 400,000 trees have 
 been planted and 53 miles of tree-studded median strips built. Along the 
 lakefront, trees are strategically planted to benefit wildlife migration 
 and create an "O'Hare for birds."
 
 "Tourists are frankly shocked because they don't picture the city of 
 broad shoulders being a garden," says Barry Burton, an assistant to the 
 mayor.
 
 Few would argue about the aesthetic appeal of trees. To get broad-based 
 support from local governments and civic organizations, however, means 
 going beyond that.
 
 More trees, less violence
 
 Bill Sullivan and Frances Kuo, University of Illinois researchers, have 
 studied the impact of trees on Chicago's public-housing residents, and 
 believe the social benefits to city dwellers are every bit, if not more, 
 compelling than the environmental ones.
 
 To gauge this, they studied a Chicago public-housing complex of 28 
 architecturally identical high-rise apartment buildings. They wanted to 
 see how the site's limited trees impacted the lives of residents.
 
 Compared to people in places without trees, people in buildings with 
 trees enjoyed better relations with neighbors and reduced violence. The 
 message, Mr. Sullivan says, is simple: Nature should be at every 
 doorstep, or very nearby.
 
 The city is attempting to heed this advice by designing ample green 
 space into new public-housing projects.
 
 Like any community, though, Chicago is challenged by 
 trees-versus-development issues.
 
 To rebuild a stretch of Lake Shore Drive, 400 mature trees had be 
 removed. A city policy, however, requires replacing them inch-for-inch, 
 based on trunk size. As a result, 1,000 new trees are being planted.
 
 Atlanta, a city under intense development pressure, is especially 
 mindful of its trees. Orange warning signs are posted where trees are to 
 be removed. People have 15 days to appeal the plan to the city tree 
 commission.
 
 Marcia Bansley, executive director of Trees Atlanta, a nonprofit 
 citizens' group, knows how tricky it can be to balance saving trees with 
 development.
 
 Her organization has done a lot of tree rescuing and planting, and 
 people often look to the group for assistance. But it's not possible to 
 save every tree. "It's a fine line between saving trees and working 
 toward the overall good of the community," she says.
 
 In Atlanta's case there is a particular sense of urgency because the 
 city has grown so rapidly in recent decades. Suburban sprawl has eaten 
 up surrounding woodlands and made Atlanta's commutes the longest in the 
 country.
 
 To encourage more urban dwelling, especially among former suburbanites, 
 cities need to be as green as possible. Trees Atlanta has helped 
 tremendously in that regard by planting more than 14,000 shade trees 
 downtown since 1985. Trees have been planted alongside business-district 
 sidewalks, in parking lots, around downtown churches and subway 
 stations, and in pocket parks.
 
 For businesses, trees can have drawbacks. They make messes, buckle 
 sidewalks, interfere with utility lines, and obscure storefronts. But 
 there's an upside, too, says Kathleen Wolf of the University of 
 Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture.
 
 Her research shows that people are willing to spend more on products in 
 business districts with trees than without them. Trees send a message of 
 care, quality, and welcome, and can give a district a distinct character 
 that customers like.
 
 Communities still have much to do in reaching low- income neighborhoods 
 with the message about planting and caring for trees and in enlisting 
 residents as "citizen foresters," but Jim Lyons, executive director of 
 GCA Casey Trees, an endowment fund of the Garden Club of America, is 
 convinced the rewards are worth it.
 
 "Trees represent the fabric that helps pull communities together and 
 gives them something to care about and commit to in terms of their own 
 love of neighborhoods," he says.
  >>

--- Begin Message ---
  • Subject: (Public.Spaces) Environmental and Social Benefits of Trees
  • From: Katie Salay ksalay@pps.org
  • Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 17:25:27 +0000
Planting trees 
By Ross Atkin 
The Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0416/p13s02-lihc.html

A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but Gary Moll of American Forests, a 
conservation group, would like to see more of them there - and in 
Dallas, Des Moines, and Detroit as well.

But the reality is that just the opposite is happening. Over the past 15 
years, the number of trees in many US cities has declined by about 30 
percent, while the space covered by concrete and other solid surfaces 
has risen by 20 percent, says Mr. Moll.
 
He estimates that to redress the imbalance, metropolitan areas need 634 
million more trees.

That's a lot of new trees, especially in a time of belt-tightening 
municipal budgets. But in some cities, such as Atlanta and Detroit, 
volunteer groups are stepping in to help - planting and caring for trees 
on public land, and educating the public about why they matter.

Trees are natural pollution-control devices. They absorb carbon dioxide 
(a byproduct of burning fossil fuels) and return oxygen to the air. 
Their leaves, branches, and and trunks help slow the runoff of storm 
water.

They also provide sound buffering, shade, and measurably cooler 
temperatures on hot summer days, and breeding and roosting places for 
local and migratory birds, whose habitat has been disappearing.

The savings that result from these environmental benefits can really add 
up. Research has shown that substantial increases in the number of city 
trees can reduce storm-water and pollution-control expenditures by 
millions of dollars.

Unfortunately, there's more involved than simply planting more trees. 
Cities also have to keep them alive - and that can sometimes be a 
problem.

In some cases, as with elms, disease has been a factor. Generally, 
though, much of the problem stems from lax maintenance, outright 
neglect, and stressful growing conditions.

Think big

One solution, practiced by The Greening of Detroit, is to avoid tiny 
saplings and instead plant good-sized trees. Most of the 35,000 trees 
planted by the nonprofit group over the past 13 years have been about 12 
feet tall.

A tree this size, says Rebecca Salminen Witt , executive director of the 
organization, makes a more immediate impact and stands a better chance 
of survival.

Landscape architect Henry Arnold of Princeton, N.J., likes to think of 
trees as beautiful, economical public utilities. Often, however, they 
are shortchanged in planning underground infrastructure, and as a 
result, wind up crowded for space. "Trees are not looked upon with the 
same seriousness as other utilities," he says.

This is beginning to change as word spreads that tree size and longevity 
count more than quantity. "The benefit of an urban tree is proportional 
to its crown size or volume," Mr. Arnold explains. "One tree that lasts 
50 years is worth more than 20 trees that last only 10 years."

Consequently, attention is shifting toward doing a better job of 
improving growing conditions. To thrive, city trees need better soil and 
more of it than they commonly receive, plus good drainage and aeration.

When trees are planted too hastily, without proper attention to soil and 
selection, they may never mature or produce the desired benefits. In 
fact, many live only seven to 10 years.

"A lot of community groups like to push tree planting because it's fun 
and easy to get the public involved," says Jim Cothrel, president of the 
Society of Municipal Arborists. "But if you don't maintain the trees, 
you can end up with a lot of headaches and potential hazards."

Education, therefore, is a priority for organizations like The Greening 
of Detroit and Trees Atlanta, which teach neighborhood volunteers proper 
aftercare, from pruning to watering.

In both cities, the goal is to maintain each tree three or four years 
after being planted, while it's getting established. Ideally, community 
groups that plant trees shoulder this responsibility.

"We ask our planting partners to sign maintenance agreements," says Ms. 
Witt, "but practically speaking, it doesn't always get done."

The effort is backstopped, therefore, by a small full-time staff and by 
the Green Corps, trained high school summer workers.

In order to have trees planted, neighborhood groups must have a water 
supply (even if it's just permission to use someone's garden hose), and 
generally a willingness to do some modest fundraising. "We find that 
encourages them to take better care of the trees," Witt says.

In the case of Chicago, the mayor has taken the lead in crusading for 
trees. Disappointed by the city's defoliated landscape and urban heat 
islands (summer hot zones), Richard M. Daley vowed to plant half a 
million trees upon taking office in 1989.

His recollection of growing up when the city had a magnificent canopy of 
elm trees led to dusting off Chicago's long-ignored motto, urbs in horto 
("City in a Garden"), which dates to 1837.

The city is so committed to this identity that nearly 400,000 trees have 
been planted and 53 miles of tree-studded median strips built. Along the 
lakefront, trees are strategically planted to benefit wildlife migration 
and create an "O'Hare for birds."

"Tourists are frankly shocked because they don't picture the city of 
broad shoulders being a garden," says Barry Burton, an assistant to the 
mayor.

Few would argue about the aesthetic appeal of trees. To get broad-based 
support from local governments and civic organizations, however, means 
going beyond that.

More trees, less violence

Bill Sullivan and Frances Kuo, University of Illinois researchers, have 
studied the impact of trees on Chicago's public-housing residents, and 
believe the social benefits to city dwellers are every bit, if not more, 
compelling than the environmental ones.

To gauge this, they studied a Chicago public-housing complex of 28 
architecturally identical high-rise apartment buildings. They wanted to 
see how the site's limited trees impacted the lives of residents.

Compared to people in places without trees, people in buildings with 
trees enjoyed better relations with neighbors and reduced violence. The 
message, Mr. Sullivan says, is simple: Nature should be at every 
doorstep, or very nearby.

The city is attempting to heed this advice by designing ample green 
space into new public-housing projects.

Like any community, though, Chicago is challenged by 
trees-versus-development issues.

To rebuild a stretch of Lake Shore Drive, 400 mature trees had be 
removed. A city policy, however, requires replacing them inch-for-inch, 
based on trunk size. As a result, 1,000 new trees are being planted.

Atlanta, a city under intense development pressure, is especially 
mindful of its trees. Orange warning signs are posted where trees are to 
be removed. People have 15 days to appeal the plan to the city tree 
commission.

Marcia Bansley, executive director of Trees Atlanta, a nonprofit 
citizens' group, knows how tricky it can be to balance saving trees with 
development.

Her organization has done a lot of tree rescuing and planting, and 
people often look to the group for assistance. But it's not possible to 
save every tree. "It's a fine line between saving trees and working 
toward the overall good of the community," she says.

In Atlanta's case there is a particular sense of urgency because the 
city has grown so rapidly in recent decades. Suburban sprawl has eaten 
up surrounding woodlands and made Atlanta's commutes the longest in the 
country.

To encourage more urban dwelling, especially among former suburbanites, 
cities need to be as green as possible. Trees Atlanta has helped 
tremendously in that regard by planting more than 14,000 shade trees 
downtown since 1985. Trees have been planted alongside business-district 
sidewalks, in parking lots, around downtown churches and subway 
stations, and in pocket parks.

For businesses, trees can have drawbacks. They make messes, buckle 
sidewalks, interfere with utility lines, and obscure storefronts. But 
there's an upside, too, says Kathleen Wolf of the University of 
Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture.

Her research shows that people are willing to spend more on products in 
business districts with trees than without them. Trees send a message of 
care, quality, and welcome, and can give a district a distinct character 
that customers like.

Communities still have much to do in reaching low- income neighborhoods 
with the message about planting and caring for trees and in enlisting 
residents as "citizen foresters," but Jim Lyons, executive director of 
GCA Casey Trees, an endowment fund of the Garden Club of America, is 
convinced the rewards are worth it.

"Trees represent the fabric that helps pull communities together and 
gives them something to care about and commit to in terms of their own 
love of neighborhoods," he says.

<PRE>^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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