The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Importance of Trees

I recently received the following email and attachment regarding the importance of the urban forest. Clicking the image of the document's first page will open the complete report in a new window. I apologize in advance for the image's large dimensions.

Community Members and Friends-

As tree protection matters have come to my attention, I've passed those matters on to you with hopes to bring to you a better understand for the need to protect and preserve our urban tree resource. I've only guessed that you are familiar with basic tree amenities- the utilitarian benefits and services that mature trees provide for us. Some of these amenities are ecology, economy and social- the amelioration of climate, a reduction of UV light, bioretainment of storm water run-off, beautification, the contribution to property values, improvement of BID climate and by bringing people together (under the hot noon day sun).

These are only a few known reasons why we must make an issue of protecting and preserving this resource. Yet, as I and others have recently found, public trees are not protected by any law within the City of New York. Can you imagine that! Public trees are up for grabs by real estate interests, engineers, planners, architects and their developers and are quickly to remove trees when perceived to be in the way. We have also found that the heads of the various Mayoral agencies, the public services that they run and the tree occupied public landscapes that they oversee have failed miserably to protect this resource (i.e., Department of Parks, School Construction Authority, Department of Design and Construction, Department of Environmental Protection, etc.).

Why is that? Mayor Bloomberg has clearly been misinformed and has bypassed making an issue of the importance of preserving large and mature trees because new tree planting is far more sexier and offers more political capital than large and mature trees do. Clearly his Commissioners, including their chiefs and directors follow lockstep to a drum beat that ignores the importance of those large and mature trees. Perhaps the ground swell of public protest has not been great enough. Perhaps the general public really does not care, until the axeman comes to take the tree down. By then it is already too late.

To better understand our place among the trees and the urban forest, find attached a current peer-review article by William Elmendorf, The Importance of Trees and Nature in Community. This article will clarify the necessity for having shade trees (and nature) inhabit communities such as ours.


Carsten W. Glaeser Ph.D

Executive Director

Kissena Park Civic Association,

Chair- Tree ( and Landscape) Protection SubCommittee

Queens Civic Congress,

Consulting Arborist

Queens Coalition for Parks and Greenspace

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