What’s this? Another editorial about the value of trees in a community? You bet, and especially this time of year when the Morenci city government makes an effort to gain recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation. The city’s replanting effort deserves accolades.
A survey by American Forests took a look at the “urban forests” of several large communities around the country and found an average decline of 30 percent over the past 10 to 15 years. That represents an enormous reduction in tree cover and an enormous loss in quality of life for residents.
The greenery of trees increases the aesthetic quality of a community, but that’s just the beginning. A shady tree is said to save a homeowner at least $80 a year in energy costs. Trees also help clean the air, reduce storm water runoff and increase property value.
Not too many years ago, Morenci was showing a decline in boulevard trees. It was most noticeable along Main Street, and the loss of trees there changed the character of the town for those traveling along the main thoroughfare.
In recent years, however, dozens of young trees have been planted and the city’s DPW continues to fill in the blank spots. Last week 20 trees were planted and 10 more will go into the ground in the fall. Fayette’s tree commission is taking similar steps in that community and they deserve accolades as well.
Sometimes it seems impossible to catch up as the city’s urban forest ages and replanting is limited by budget concerns. There are still a lot of holes to fill and some streets look empty along the sidewalks, but the progress made in recent years is admirable. City council deserves praise for keeping tree replanting in mind in the annual budget process.
– David Green, May 10, 2006