The urban forest has huge benefits for our cities and the quality of life for citizens. The Nature Within website from Kathleen Wolf gives us research-based evidence of the benefits of trees and the list is continually growing. Climate change and severe weather events caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are making our cities unbearable and unsustainable. What do trees do that is so special? They use CO2 and produce oxygen, O2, as a by-product which we humans find most useful! Trees also keep stored carbon in trunks and branches. Although the trees’ carbon storage and carbon sequestration could never keep up with the vast amounts of CO2 we’re releasing, hopefully thinking about the environmental equations may give us pause to think twice about cutting down trees for some relatively minor reason. We most of us contribute to the unbalanced output of CO2 so all have to do what we can as individuals. Planting trees in our yards and elsewhere and keeping the nutrient cycling of the soils alive and well is something we CAN do.
Professionals in many disciplines are changing their views on the role of nature and the urban forest in our cities as development sprawls across the green rim of the driest continent of the world. The 202020 Vision project brings many forward thinking professionals together to turnaround the decline in green space in our over-heated cities and suburbs. A worthwhile perspective for everyone is the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy which blossomed at the end of the long drought and the community’s dismay at the loss and deterioration of many of the city’s beautiful elm trees.