Letter: City should act to save urban trees

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Eight percent of our urban forest — all the trees in Asheville — were lost in the past 10 years.

Development and largely unregulated tree removal are the contributing factors. There is no agency or department charged with the protection of our trees in Asheville, and continued loss of our green canopy will result in loss of the sense of place that is uniquely Asheville.

Our trees absorb excess amounts of carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air we breathe. Trees’ root systems absorb stormwater runoff; trees cool us in the summer and provide buffers from damaging winds. The beauty that trees provide is immeasurable.

Asheville needs to add an urban forester and staffing to its city government to protect our trees from future danger. A comprehensive urban forest master plan and updated ordinances governing tree removal and restriction of invasive non-native plantings (such as English ivy) are needed. Linking these to Asheville’s existing Comprehensive Plan is essential to see this become a reality and for true protection for our wonderful trees. Thank you.

— Cathy Walsh
Asheville

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2 thoughts on “Letter: City should act to save urban trees

  1. jason

    Asheville most definitely does not need to add an “urban forester and staffint” to the already bloated and unaccountable services that tax payers are responsible for supporting.

    Also, how does 8% equal to ALL TREES IN ASHEVILLE? That’s some weird math you got there.

    • cecil bothwell

      Walsh is spot on. Other cities are able to not only stop the loss of urban canopy but actually increase the number of trees. (Charlotte, for example.)
      Trees not only contribute all of the benefits she mentions, but there is strong statistical evidence that greener cities have lower crime rates. (Don’t ask me why. But it is a fact.)
      In my immediate neighborhood I have witnessed the major environmental impact of substantial tree removal. In one case the run-off from a single lot increased so radically that extensive additions to the storm sewer system had to be installed, and even then the run-off is way greater than before, causing sheets of ice on a curve in cold weather. In the other, very substantial tree removal has caused the failure of a dirt bank that put a mud slide half way across the road, requiring City removal of the dirt. A subsequent installation of a grass mat has also failed and the bank is continuing to erode. Saving trees saves money.

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