Yesterday, I posted this quote on the Blooming Rock Facebook Fan Page:
“One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” – Clarence Darrow
and I learned from Jo Marie McDonald, vice president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, that there is actually a Tree and Shade Master Plan in place for the City of Phoenix. The first step of this Master Plan is to raise awareness. To help with this, every Wednesday for the next month, I’ll be featuring parts of this document on the Blooming Rock blog. With the crippling budget cuts, the City is too understaffed and overstretched to push this plan right now. But can we get a little verve going for it with some grassroots community support? Can we, as a community, help implement this plan to restore our depleted urban forest in a sustainable way?
(Excerpts from the Tree and Shade Master Plan are shown in italics)
The Urban Forest:
The urban forest is a critical component of the living infrastructure. It benefits and attracts residents and tourists alike to live, work, shop and play in the city. Phoenix’s urban forest is a diverse ecosystem of soils, vegetation, trees, associated organisms, air, water, wildlife and people. The urban forest is found not only in parks, mountain preserves and native desert areas, but also in neighborhoods, commercial corridors, industrial parks and along streets. The urban forest is made up of a rich mosaic of private and public property that surrounds the city and provides many environmental, economic, and social benefits.
The urban forest is a keystone to creating a sustainable city because it solves many problems with one single solution. By investing in trees and the urban forest, the city can reduce its carbon footprint, decrease energy costs, reduce storm water runoff, increase biodiversity, address the urban heat island effect, clean the air, and increase property values. In addition, trees can help to create walkable streets and vibrant pedestrian places. More trees will not solve all the problems, but it is known that for every dollar invested in the urban forest results in an impressive return of $2.23 in benefits.
Phoenix, like many other cities, has deferred the care of the living infrastructure. Trees are being lost at a faster rate than they are being replaced, and the budget has not been able to support the City’s forestry efforts and urban forestry maintenance staff. For several decades the coordination, care and management of the forest has been under funded. This has created increased environmental, economic and social costs for the city and its residents.
As you can see, there is a certain urgency behind this plan. We can’t wait forever to start restoring our urban forest. The longer we wait, the harder it’ll be to correct our course. While we straighten out our economy and the City figures out its budget problems, our urban forest continues to be depleted. Can we as a community take charge of this and become stewards of existing trees and foster new ones?
What do you think? Leave me a comment.
Tags: blooming rock, city of phoenix, clarence darrow, community, jo marie mcdonald, phoenix, phoenix community alliance, shade trees, taz loomans, tree and shade master plan, tree planting, urban forest