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Author Topic: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?  (Read 3281 times)

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Offline mdvaden

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When I saw the article at Online Seminars about Urban Forest and Climate Change, I thought "this one might be partly controversial".

See menu...

http://on-line-seminars.com

Certainly forests add benefits.

Is there climate change that trees in urban areas can change? I'm not sure.

Anyone feel it can make that big of a difference? Or is the benefit limited to small regions around population?


Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 05:59:05 am »
I think there are two areas that you have to look at when talking urban timber and climate change.

On the micro climate level, yes, trees will have an effect on the immediate area.  Broadleaf trees have a cooling effect in summertime and conifers offer protection from winds in the winter.

However, if you're looking at the macro climate, you have to buy into the idea that carbon dioxide is the cause of climate change.  Trees take carbon dioxide out of the air and sequesters it in the form of cellulose.  So, if you're removing CO2 from the air, then you're helping to prevent climate change.

I don't buy into the macro climate theory, and even if its true, I doubt there would be that great of an impact.  You could do more for CO2 removal by not producing it in the first place. 
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 07:20:23 am »
An interesting segment was on TV last week. It was concerning drought in the Canadian Prairies. They were discussing if the drought in the 30's was a sign of climate change coming and more recent droughts in 2001. It so happened that the Hudson Bay Company had climate data back in the late 18 Century, around 1780's I believe. The data and the diaries of the fur traders indicated that a drought occurred those years and there was not even water enough to move furs down the Prairie rivers. It seemed to indicate, from the writings, the drought was even more severe than in the 30's. Personally, I don't know if 2-300 years of climate data is even enough to predict climate change. I'm sure we are having some effect on the planet, but how much? Some things can be measured, some are guesses. One thing is certain, water, air and soil pollution is real, does that effect the carbon cycle and hydrologic cycle? Hence climate?  My hypothesis is yes, but by how much and is the planet able to equilibrate and 'smooth things over'?

So far this year, aside from a very mild October, it's looking like a regular winter coming. Snow expected today as well on Monday, and fairly cold.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 07:23:06 am »
Last night on "Fearless Planet" they explained that the Sahara desert went from tropical type forest to desert in a few decades when the earth's wobble caused it to tilt about 1 degree.  This occured just 5000 years ago.  
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Offline Tom

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 01:22:24 pm »
Urban plants don't make much difference in the great scheme of things unless you want to measure by their absence.  To make any difference at all is on an order of magnitude greater than city gardeners think.  The, so-called, health of the World is more impacted by the existance of the Urban area. 

The Urban Forest could be made to have great impact on the looks of world if it were declared that all areas of the world would be required to have the same density of natural plant growth as found in the untouched natural environment of the plant.

If that is the case, then a fleet of bulldozer should prepare the ground and the area immediately seeded with natural flora and fauna, to include a modicum population of humans as found in the world's history to which we wish to return.  The remainder of the Urban population should be restricted to limited high rise and deep basement structures located in small areas designated as National Parks to provide a minimum square footage for their physical existance.   As the population decreased, the infrastructure should be taken away until all that is left is the wandering indiginous culture.  The trees and other plants would enjoy the expansion.

The aim should probably be a spot about the size of Las Vegas, Nevada to house the U.S.A.   It would also solve most of the transportation problems.
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Offline mdvaden

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 01:34:45 pm »
I enjoy trees in cities when there is a good space to fit one right.

But there is many-a-planter strip by the sidewalk, where the leaves on healthy turf may be a much better benefit than the small leaves of a struggling tree  :P

Offline Tom

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 01:56:42 pm »
Yes, the city is a difficult place to grow trees.  I think the realism is as you describe and people should start looking at it more from the stand-point of aesthetics than making the world healthier.  The Urban takeover of the world is the greatest detriment to the environment.   What should be done, relative to Urban areas, is studies on how to lessen their impact.   A few scattered shrubs and 2' x  100' strips of grass along the sidewalk isn't going to do it.

If the aim is lessen the impact, then minimizing the footprint is the only answer I know. Granted, aesthetics are important for the health of humans and Arborists and Gardeners are definitely needed to provide that.  But, to put these efforts under the same umbrella as environmentalists put their definition of Global Warming is off base.

Furby's company is planting rooftops.  That idea might provide an area large enough to off-set some of the gases and other undesirable things created by the great density of humans.  But, even that is questionable. 

If the Flora and Fauna of the world, other than humans, is what is necessary to make the world health, then it will take a plan and a vision, larger than gardening of a city street to offset the people and the pavement.

I'm not against it.  Don't get me wrong.  I think there should be plants represented everywhere, but their context should be realistic. 

I've "sat across the table" from people on Internet forums who have the interest of the world at heart, in their own misguided way, and declare that the existence of tree farms is a detriment to the planet.  They are the same ones that want to plant a Ginkgo on every street corner.  The logic escapes me.  :)
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Offline johnmetz33

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Re: Online Seminar Climate Change & Urban Forest: Part Controversial?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 11:55:08 am »
I think it does make a difference... in a few different ways. This is without all the exactitude of the scientists out there so please bear with me:
     1. city trees do remove co2, they also produce oxygen... we do need both of these. They also help cool our neighborhoods in the summer, increasing trees would reduce our energy consumption. Utilizing the materials available from city trees when they do require removal can reduce the amount of forest we need to disturb. USDA predicts we could reduce our reliance on forests by up to 30% by so doing in our cities. Because the cities are focused on keeping the trees, they can be a great place to promote old growth trees... we have many trees in yards throughout our city that are 150 yrs and older, cities can become an oasis (if we act with the intent and focus of so doing) for old growth wood. We just haven't considered the possibilities.
    2. most cities, I'm told, have a canopy of under 15%. The city I live in, Pittsburgh has a canopy that's somewhere in the mid 30% range, and we're looking to plant lots more trees here. Our biggest issue isn't whether we have room for more, it's maintaining and caring for the ones we have now. We can definitely increase our canopy and I'm thinking we could probably approach a 50% canopy. Add Scale; increase the tree canopy in cities with 15% canopy or less times how many mid size cities are there? Could we agree on at least... 200?(just in the states of course). The cumulative impact is much greater than you would imagine. The propensity for the city to support trees is also much greater than folks here seem to be giving credence. I'm not talking about grass or shrubs... Trees.
    3.  The People I'm aware of with an adverse opinion of tree farms aren't against the farming. For tree farms the challenge is achieving genetic diversity while producing copious quantities of trees. There are dangers in having all genetically similar trees. Any flaw or weakness could make them vulnerable. We need diversity not just of species but also within a species, if that makes sense. Our woods and greenways in the cities are full of saplings of genetic diversity. Our older growth trees have lots of seeds available for providing some diversity as well. Working together would be the key. 
    4. polar shifts... this one is a little out there sooo... I was told that trees can affect the polar alignment of the earth. The earth is magnetic; trees conduct electricity and hence have some impact on the magnetic fields of the earth.  Has anyone else ever heard of this? The theory is that massive removals of trees as in the rainforests has an impact as does removing for cities and farms, any efforts that replace any of these is in our best interest... FWIW


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