Losing our trees when we need the benefits most

Losing our trees when we need the benefits most

Many might be familiar with Joni Mitchell’s 1970s song Big Yellow Taxi, for it’s been sung by such popular artists as Amy Grant, Bob Dylan and Counting Crows.

But few understand the environmental meaning behind her well-crafted lyrics – especially regarding the beautiful sight tree canopies create in states all across the nation.
In an interview done with the Los Angeles Times, Mitchell says, “I wrote Big Yellow Taxi on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.” She was right to be concerned.

In the May issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening journal, it was discovered that metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees nationwide every year.

The math tells us that’s about 175,000 acres of tree cover in central cities and suburban areas.
Scientists are aware of the benefits of trees – removing air pollution, absorbing carbon, providing shade to conserve energy – with the larger, healthier trees providing more benefits than smaller, sickly trees (the estimated loss of these benefits is valued at about $96 million).

But what about the losses you can’t see? Trees have other benefits you may not have known about.
Trees offer heat-stroke protection, enable you to breathe better, sleep more soundly, and have even been known to provide relief for stress, diseases and depression. Their value is something we simply can’t ignore beyond the common assumptions, and their loss will be acute.

As municipalities and communities look to increase their tax dollars, they are sacrificing the many benefits and the majesty of trees for strip malls and housing. Sadly, they’re not replacing a fraction of what they’ve destroyed.

“We’re urbanizing like crazy and it takes a lot more than a few cities with million tree programs to replace the trees that get chewed up by office buildings and big box stores and parking lots.” – William Sullivan, head of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Landscape Architecture department
Plant a new tree* on your property – maybe even two! Everyone needs to do their part for as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
For help caring for your newly planted trees, contact SavATree today.

*Not all SavATree locations provide planting services. Contact us for more details.