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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Trees and wind

After the recent windstorm I've heard a lot of people worrying about falling trees. It sounds like they see the trees in our neighborhoods as a hazard and not a benefit. As I see it, trees are our first line of defense against the wind - our 'shock troops'- and we should view the trees that fell with reverence. They died protecting us from the wind.

Every time I go for a walk to the park from my house I am always amazed how windy it gets in the gaps where people have cut down the trees. And then once I get inside the trees at the park, after braving the tree-less-wastelands outside the park, it is so calm and still - and yes even warm. It makes complete sense that Sitka Blacktail deer prefer to winter in old growth Sitka Spruce forest.

Neighborhoods with trees are nicer places to live. There is far less wind and it is a more beautiful place to live. It's not a coincidence that home values are higher in neighborhoods with trees than in those that lack trees.

So next time you see a blown down tree in your neighborhood - stop a moment and reflect. The wind blew a tree down. The tree did not fall down. And rather than cutting trees down out of a misguided sense of making our neighborhoods safer, we should be thinking of ways to protect our trees from the wind. We should be building our houses and neighborhoods among the trees and not out in the open. Patrick


kodiakgriff said...

Trees are indeed a great windbreak. However; when they can be blown down onto you abode, that is different.
In a neighborhood filled with cottonwoods, I caught some flack when I started removing those fickle hearted trees that could do real damage if they fell. Now years later, my neighbors are starting to realize that my apparent clear cutting had purpose.
Basically I clear cut a perimeter, let the sun shine in and planned my re-planting.
Yes I am replacing many of those I took, but I am replacing them with sturdier, evergreen varieties.
Eventually our compound will be ringed with a dark green, fairly reliable, forest.
You are correct in your praise of trees, but a little modification of your immediate surroundings is not a bad thing either.
Happy New Year, luv the pics.

Zoya said...

I too planted tree around my house - I planted cottonwoods! Patrick

The North Sister said...

It's worth walking the perimeter of the gravel pit over on Near Island to look at all the new blowdowns from that big storm... These trees grew up with a wind buffer, but with every additional encroachment the wind reaches further and further back in to tip over what's there. We saw at least three major new blowdowns. It's not hard to imagine what will happen to that green belt if the gravel pit is extended further back there.