To The Editor: Trees bring many benefits to Greenwich

From the Greenwich-Post.com on November 14, 2013

To the Editor

Recently, the tree warden protected four beautiful pin oaks that mask part of the Cos Cob train station and give shade to that area. He also protected two trees that stand alone along Strickland Road.

We thank him for saving our town’s assets and understanding that safe roads and sidewalks can coexist with trees. Because of recent storms, some residents are concerned about our urban forest. So it’s good to remind everyone of the often-overlooked environmental and economic benefits of trees.

• Trees clean the air: Trees act as giant filters that clean the air we breathe by intercepting airborne particles, cooling the air and absorbing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

• Trees benefit the soil: Trees can store harmful pollutants and change them into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage, reduce effects from animal wastes, clean roadside spills, and clean water runoff into streams. Trees control soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce sediment deposit after storms. Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain.

• Trees increase property value: Real estate values can increase when trees are planted. Data shows that buyers are willing to spend 3% to 7% more on homes with ample trees over few or no trees.

• Trees shade and cool: Shade reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. Studies show that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be “heat islands” with temperatures as much as 12 degrees higher than in surrounding areas.

• Trees bring people together: Data shows neighborhoods with shady trees and parks create outdoor spaces that attract people. When people are drawn to spaces with trees, they are more likely to see and interact with their neighbors and become friends.

Let’s be mindful of “our friends” the trees and protect our environment, health and property values. Our children, their children, and all the generations to come as the heirs of our fragile planet will be grateful to us.

JoAnn Messina
Greenwich

The author is the executive director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy.

To the Editor: Regarding the Storm

To the Editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy agrees with the recommendations given recently in several letters to the editor. Underground wiring should begin without further delay on major town roads, near substations and for all new construction. The long term cost over the many years this will take, will be far less than the cost of the current archaic system when business and property losses are taken into account.

We believe that severe and destructive “100 year” storms may be coming with more frequency and power lines will continue to suffer with our majestic trees, although the suffering will be much less if our trees are maintained. Trees provide many ecosystem benefits including clean air, cleaner water, the sequestration of carbon from the air, prevention of flooding and creating homes for wildlife. We do need to balance these benefits and the enhanced aesthetics and property values with above ground power lines while they exist, that is why the Greenwich Tree Conservancy complies with state policy of planting only right trees in right places—short ornamental trees under power lines, shade trees only where there is no power line.

The majority of trees which impacted power lines in our recent storms were trees on private property, not governed by the existing town tree ordinance nor managed by our town tree warden. We agree that public and private tree management has to improve. We fully cooperate with our town tree warden and urge an increase in funding for care of existing trees on town property.

JoAnn Messina, Executive Director

Greenwich Tree Conservancy

Save Costs, Save Trees, Bury Lines

Originally posted in Greenwich Time: Letters to the Editor:

To the editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy, a non-profit citizen group dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of our “urban forest,” urges our elected officials to require Connecticut Light & Power to bury power lines in Greenwich, wherever it may be feasible. Many Greenwich residents are insisting after the devastation of Hurricane Irene that this be accomplished.

Burying power lines may actually be more cost effective in the long run for CL&P than repeatedly repairing the damage to overhead power lines after a major storm such as Irene and the nor’easter of March 2010, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result of climate change, it is projected that hurricanes will be increasingly frequent. There would also be a savings to the utility through the elimination of the continuing cost of tree removal and pruning.

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