A chainsaw is cutting into a tree with a banner that reads, "protect our trees."

City-owned street trees. A flowering sapling in a park. Heritage trees on someone’s private property. They all have something in common – when it comes to trees we can protect, we should. In order to curb illegal tree cutting, we need smart policies in place.

Our story today is from Washington, DC where a multi-generational Willow Oak was illegally cut down. Despite the tree’s “protected” status, concerned citizens and city arborists were powerless to stop its destruction. This was the result of reactive instead of proactive laws governing the urban forest. Issuing a fine after a tree’s removal doesn’t matter much to the dwindling tree canopy of a city.

Drafting meaningful policies and legislation to protect our tree canopies will be difficult and time consuming, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor as our planet changes. Beyond the role trees play in carbon capture (the best tool in our toolkit), they buffer against storm water run-off, mitigate the urban heat island effect, etc. In other words, their importance extends farther than the magic of photosynthesis.


Read more in the original article here: Casey Trees Washington DC

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