I am writing to express my great disappointment concerning the recent clear cut on Manitou Beach Drive that has caused a great deal of consternation and anger in the neighborhood. To remove a beautiful 200+ year old maple and seven other large 100+ year old trees shows a callous disregard to what the removal has done to the neighborhood environment. Why was a permit given for this clear cut without some form of review as to the consequences? To paraphrase the world-renowned environmentalist, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, to cut down these beautiful trees is a deep and personal betrayal of every child on this island; it is a robbery of their imagination and a looting of their future.
A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at 48 pounds per year and release enough oxygen into the atmosphere to support two human beings. Looking at it another way, over a 50-year life span, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. Our neighborhood air quality is now compromised.
Of greater concern is that the removal of these trees is going to increase the amount of water already flowing down the side road during periods of rain. This is going to accelerate the erosion of our bluff, which is already compromised. Each mature tree, according to research done to-date, takes up approximately 200-500 gallons of water a day. Even taking a conservative value of 200 gallons of water a day, we now have a minimum of 1600 additional gallons of water going down the road. Are we going to end up having to close Manitou Beach Drive permanently because of this clear cut? Have we learned nothing from the Rockaway Beach Road experience? Has anyone given thought to the school buses going around the curve along this unstable bluff this winter?
According to a University of Washington study, the presence of larger trees in yards can add from 3% to 15% to home values throughout neighborhoods. This clear cut has now diminished the value of neighborhood homes. The charm of our neighborhood previously surrounded by mature trees has been compromised. A survey of 1,350 real estate agents indicated that 84% believed that a home with trees would be as much as 20 percent more salable in terms of property value and curb appeal than a similar, treeless home. According to studies done by Jonathan Dombrow, Mauricio Rodriguez, and C.F. Sirmans, mature trees enhance the value of a single-family dwelling. Conversely, removal of mature trees devalues a property.
In most areas of the country, communities can care for their largest trees for as little as $13 per tree each year, according to a recent analysis by the Center for Urban Forest Research, University of California, Davis. The payback is significant. Each tree returns an average of $65 in energy savings, cleaner air, better-managed storm water, extended life of streets, and higher property values. “Even at maturity, small-stature trees do not come close to providing these benefits,” according to Dr. Greg McPherson of the Research Center. He states that “dollar for dollar, large-stature trees deliver big savings and other benefits we can’t ignore.”
It is a shame indeed that the city would so cavalierly authorize a clear cut. I know it is not in the city’s interests to talk to the owner and try to explain to him the value of saving at least some of the trees, since trees are of little consequence to the city. However, it is time for the city to consider asking developers to build with trees. It has been done across the United States. It is not a novel concept! Maryland’s recent landmark legislation makes commitments to protecting trees that will in turn improve health and quality of life in Baltimore throughout the state. Other cites have also passed legislation to save their urban forests. It is time we did the same.
—Olaf K. Ribeiro
Manitou Beach Drive
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precept, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” —Hermann Hesse
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- What the Hwy 305 and High School Rd Shopping Center Protesters Are Up Against
- Will This Tree Be Saved?
- One of Winslow’s Final Forest Ecosystems Destroyed for Private Development
- Meeting About Proposed Shopping Center at High School and 305
- New Shopping Center at NE Corner of High School and Highway 305 in Early Stages
- Letter to the Editor: Talking the Talk but not Walking the Walk