Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trees: Community Treasures Gone

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." Aldo Leopold

There was a brutal tree cutting of several healthy old specimen trees last week at 124 Hope Street on private property that was recently sold. Currently, Bristol has no Tree Protection Laws for trees on private property. One would hope that this violent act will set off discussion and the need for laws to protect sacred specimen trees on private lands or at least incentives encouraging conservation and a permitting process allowing for public comment and discussion before the trees are cut. A definition and parameters of a "specimen or historic tree" would have to be created and tree experts consulted. The Copper Beech that was cut down in one day was at least 4.5 feet in diameter and over a hundred years old.

"After a certain point in time, a tree becomes part of the community. The trees were older than the neighborhood. I came home from work, and they were all cut down, and there was a truck turning them into sawdust. This speaks loudly to the fact that we do not own trees. We are only their stewards for our lifetime."
Bill Wright

The new owner at 124 Hope Street can now likely find himself paying 50% more in energy bills especially in the summer, will add to stormwater runoff and will have more water in his basement (not less as he stated) and will no longer be able to harbor birds which in turn assist in the control of insects. His property value will also likely decrease.

Below is a link to a Tree Preservation and Protection ordinance in Newport begun in 1991. From what I can gather from a quick review, it looks like trees on private property need to be nominated by their owners to be protected.


The Once-ler said...

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

D Arsenault said...

Just catching up on the December stories. Thank-you Lindsay.
As I sit looking south across from my home I am grateful for the voices of those who care about trees. Unfortunately, Once-ler, caring alone doesn't work. Though 13 households protested, nearly an acre of trees, some 100 plus years old, has been cleared on the northern edge of Juniper Hill Cemetery. The land is privately owned, as the terms of the will of the original donor of the land were overturned (by the head of the Cemetery Trust via State attorney) and it was sold. Though the trees and the land served as a natural buffer to an historic treasure and an environmental protection for Silver Creek,it appears that presently this Town has no recourse in saving trees from the will of the owner of the property (in this case Michael Fonseca) So, the trees are down, the clearing and scraping of the soil has re-started and the cutting of a street and plans for homes continue.
It remains to be seen how environmentally friendly the finished product will be, and our hope is that the DEM's updated stormwater regs. will combine with the will of the Planning dept. to create as friendly a landscape as possible.
Sad that the felled trees were already working so hard to do just that.