Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trees Provide Ecosystem Services

Why Con Ed Should Be Required To RE-PLANT

We all know intuitively that there is a significant ecosystems services impact in removing mature trees, especially those which are natives. Not only do the trees provide habitat and food source, they generate oxygen, sequester carbon, provide cooling shade and mitigate stormwater impacts. These are all key reasons why I believe that Con Ed should be mandated to replant after removals.

Here's an article (pdf) on suburban biodiversity by Doug Tallamy - a researcher from Univ. of Delaware - about the ecosystem services of native trees and shrubs, outlining their foundational impact on the local food web. This is very important work covered in much greater detail in his book "Bringing Nature Home".

If we want to avoid extinction - our extinction as well as the biota we love around us (song birds, butterflies, foxes, etc.) - we must begin immediately to restore the landscape. This means planting native trees, shrubs, perennials and so forth, in a plan that (re)establishes functional layers (such as canopy, understory and ground level), habitat buffer zones and migration corridors.

Environmental restoration can begin one property at a time, your property and then your neighbor's and so on. The matrix of resources required to sustain native wildlife, to sustain the quality of our air, water and soil will be rebuilt and each of us will become reconnected to the natural world once again.

But as long as utilities such as Con Ed continue to be given free hand so as to maintain our electrical power fix regardless of environmental impacts, the consequences of their actions work directly towards the demise of our landscape, our habitat and our species. Ask Doug Tallamy - he would be quite certain of this!

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