Does this apply to Israel as well?

by Maskil on August 6, 2007

Having spent most of my life in Johannesburg, South Africa (supposedly the largest man-made urban forest in the world), I’ve always thought of urban trees as a really good thing. After reading this recent article in TIME magazine, however, I now have an even better understanding of how important trees are to the ecology of our cities.

Every tree that’s subtracted from a city’s ecosystem means some particulate pollution that should have been filtered out remains. In Washington, that amounts to 540 extra tons each year. Simply replanting does not suffice because small, young trees require decades to grow to full size. “A big tree does 60 to 70 times the pollution removal of a small tree,” says David Nowak, a project leader with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Syracuse, N.Y. The crown of a large tree is also a freestanding antiflood reservoir, in some cases intercepting so much rainfall that more than 1,500 gal. a year evaporates instead of hitting the ground. Chop down the tree, and you increase the volume of storm water a city must manage–something that affects older cities with aging drainage systems especially severely.

But it’s the thermometer that most noticeably reflects the loss of trees. A high canopy prevents sunlight and heat from ever reaching the ground; by contrast, unshaded asphalt soaks up thermal energy and radiates it back, creating what is known as heat islands. In Atlanta, where developers bulldozed 380,000 acres from 1973 to 1999–much of it heavily forested–temperatures have climbed 5º to 8º higher than in the surrounding countryside, according to NASA, which studies global hydrology and climate…

Is there a central body to look after the interests of city trees in Israel? Seeing that the KKL-JNF (Jewish National Fund) has managed to do a pretty good job of restoring some of Israel’s forest cover to her, perhaps it could also be charged with the task of seeing that her urban forests (pavements/sidewalks/streets and parks) also have someone to speak for them?

Why Cities are Uprooting Trees

Having spent most of my life in Johannesburg, South Africa (supposedly the largest man-made urban forest in the world), I’ve always thought of urban trees as a really good thing. After reading this recent article in TIME magazine, however, I now have an even better understanding of how important trees are to the ecology of our cities.
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