|Getting ready to plant a fruitless olive tree so I don't have to stare |
at my backyard neighbor's second-floor balcony all day.
Several months ago I walked into my local library and saw some young people sitting at a table with a giant "Free Trees" sign. We had recently purchased a home and for the first time in many years were in a position to change our own landscaping. So I wandered over with my three little kids in tow and started asking questions. The table was set up by Our City Forest, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of trees in my metropolitan area.
Our Endangered City Forest
Through this organization, I learned some disheartening facts about trees in cities:
- Large American cities are losing trees four times as fast as they can be replanted.
- Between 90 million and 100 million trees must be planted each year over the next decade to develop and maintain America’s urban forest.
- The average life of a street tree in America is as little as 8 years, compared with 40 years or more for trees removed from urban stresses.
- The number of trees per person in the U.S. has declined by 13% during the past 9 years.
- One million acres of forest are lost to American city growth each year.
- California's urban forests are becoming shorter because cities are planting more short-statured trees; as the urban forest is downsized, many of the ecological benefits that large trees provide will be diminished or lost.