Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Case for Trees

 more precisely: The Case for a Tree Committee

Early in the summer of 2022, local friends asked me to provide expert testimony (their phrase, not mine) as an environmental geographer regarding a question of local governance. Although I always resist the "expert" label, I was pleased to be asked. As I thought about the topic, I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of ways in which my experience did qualify me to speak to the question at hand.

Posing in the Amazon with a tree we
would definitely not find in Bridgewater.
Photo: Cara Reed (2003)
That question, as suggested above, was whether to establish a tree committee for our town in southeastern Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape of Cod. Readers outside of New England might not be aware of this, but our towns have a lot of self-governance, and this includes a lot of committees that would never be contemplated elsewhere in the world.

It turns out that almost half of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts have tree committees, with varying kinds of authority, and Bridgewater itself used to have one. A major responsibility of a reconstituted committee -- and the impetus for this discussion -- would be to guide plantings on public property, especially those that are mandated as a condition of other land-use changes. That is, if another town board or committee authorizes some clearing of trees in town, this committee might be called upon to provide for compensatory plantings on town land.

As part of a regularly scheduled public meeting of our Town Council, several people addressed the question of whether to form the tree committee -- all of us in the affirmative. As an environmental geographer whose teaching and research has involve forest ecology and political ecology, forest soils, and forest hydrology, I spoke to the general benefits of trees and to the importance of choosing the correct trees for a particular situation. My friend Marilee Hunt -- who is our Town Clerk and has much deeper experience than I with town governance -- provided a rich history of our town's conscious promotion of trees

Lagniappe 

I started this blog post right after the public meeting in June, because I thought my friend's comments would be instructive for my students and other readers. A lot happened to distract me from completing this post, but I return in January 2023 for an unexpected reason: our words were apparently convincing, the Tree Committee was indeed formed, and I have now been asked to apply to serve on it. Even if my application is approved, however, I will eschew that "expert" label. I reserve that honorific for real experts like my late friend Dr. Alan Bolt.

I am at best a student of trees.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment and your interest in my blog. I will approve your comment as soon as possible. I had to activate comment moderation because of commercial spam; I welcome debate of any ideas I present, but this will not be a platform for dubious commercial messages.

Blog Ideas

coffee (25) GEOG381 (24) GEOG388 (23) GEOG470 (18) climate change (17) GEOG130 (16) geography (16) GEOG332 (13) GEOG431 (12) musica (11) Mexico (9) Brazil (8) GEOG 381 (8) GEOG286 (8) Texas (8) education (8) migration (8) GEOG298 (7) GEOG199 (6) GEOG331 (6) Massachusetts (6) US-Mexico (6) borderlands (6) deBlij04 (6) GEOG 332 (5) GEOG287 (5) climate justice (5) cultural geography (5) fair trade (5) food (5) geographic education (5) immigration (5) nicaragua (5) water (5) Arizona (4) GEOG 130 (4) GEOG 171 (4) GEOG 286 (4) GEOG171 (4) GEOG295 (4) Safina (4) africa (4) deBlij05 (4) music (4) politics (4) Bolivia (3) Boston (3) COVID-19 (3) Detroit (3) Ethiopia (3) Managua (3) Obama (3) border (3) cartography (3) drought (3) land protection (3) libraries (3) pesticides (3) suburban sprawl (3) trade (3) unemployment (3) Alaska (2) Amazon (2) Bridgewater (2) Canada (2) Chiapas (2) China (2) Colonialism (2) EPA (2) EarthView (2) Economy (2) Environment (2) GEOG 199 (2) GEOG 287 (2) Google Maps (2) Government (2) Hawaii (2) India (2) Lexington (2) Maldives (2) Mozambique (2) NOLA (2) NPR (2) National Monuments (2) National Parks (2) Religion (2) Rio Grande (2) Taunton River Wild and Scenic (2) Tex-Mex (2) The View from Lazy Point (2) United States (2) Venezuela (2) anthropocene (2) cape verde (2) censorship (2) central america (2) chocolate (2) corn (2) deBlij07 (2) deforestation (2) demographic transition (2) demography (2) education reform (2) employment (2) environmental geography (2) film (2) forest fire (2) global warming (2) islands (2) librarians (2) maps (2) organic (2) peak oil (2) refugees (2) sense of place (2) soccer (2) sustainability (2) television (2) water rights (2) whales (2) #bbc (1) #nicaragua (1) #sosnicaragua (1) #sosnicaragua #nicaragua (1) 100 Years of Solitude (1) ACROSS Lexington (1) Accents (1) Adam at Home (1) Alice (1) Alt.Latina (1) American Hustle (1) April (1) Association of american Geographers (1) Audubon (1) Aunt Hatch's Lane (1) BSU (1) Baby Boomers (1) Banda Aceh (1) Bay Circuit Trial (1) Bechtel (1) Beleza Tropical (1) Belize (1) Beloit College (1) Ben Linder Cafe (1) Bet The Farm (1) Bhopal (1) Biafra (1) Bikeway (1) Bikini (1) Bill Gates (1) Bill Moyers (1) Boeing 777 (1) Brazilian (1) Brazilianization (1) Bridge (1) British Columbia (1) Brockton (1) Bus Fare (1) Bush (1) Cabo Verde (1) California (1) Cambridge (1) Cape Cod Bay (1) Carl Stafina (1) Catholic (1) Ceuta (1) Chalice (1) Chipko (1) Citgo (1) Climate risks (1) Cochabamba (1) Colombia (1) Common Core (1) Commuter (1) Computers (1) Cuba (1) Cups and Summits (1) Dallas (1) David Byrne (1) Deans Beans (1) Delaware Valley (1) Dunkin Donuts (1) Earth Day (1) Earth View (1) Easton (1) El Salvador (1) Elizabeth Warren (1) Ellicott City (1) Emilia Laime (1) English-only (1) Environmental History (1) Euphrates (1) European Union (1) Evo Morales (1) FIFA (1) FYS (1) Fades Out (1) Farms (1) First-Year Seminar (1) Food Trade (1) Frederick Kaufman (1) French press (1) Fresh Pond Mall (1) GEOG 388 (1) GEOG 431 (1) GEOG 441 (1) GEOG213 (1) GEOG490 (1) Gabriel García Márquez (1) Garden of Gethsemane (1) Gas wells (1) Gateway Cities (1) General Motors (1) Gini Coefficient (1) Girl in the Cafe (1) Google (1) Gordon Hempton (1) Gravina Island Bridge (1) Great Migration (1) Great Molasses Flood (1) Guy Lombardo (1) Haiti (1) Hawks (1) Heart (1) Higher Education (1) History (1) Holyhok Lewisville (1) Homogenous (1) Honors (1) How Food Stopped Being Food (1) Hugo Chavez (1) IMF (1) Iditarod (1) Imperial Valley (1) Income Inequality (1) Indonesia (1) Iraq (1) Irish (1) Japan (1) Junot Diaz (1) Kenya (1) Ketchikan (1) Key West (1) Kindergarden Students (1) King Corn (1) Kiribati (1) Latin America (1) Limbaugh (1) Literature (1) Living On Earth (1) Louisiana (1) Love Canal (1) Luddite (1) M*A*S*H (1) MCAS (1) MacArthur Genius (1) Maersk (1) Malawi (1) Malaysia (1) Malaysian Air Flight 370 (1) Mali (1) Manu Chao (1) Map (1) Marblehead (1) Mary Robinson Foundation (1) Maryland (1) Massachusetts Bay Colony (1) Math (1) Maxguide (1) May (1) Maya (1) Mayan (1) Mayan Gold (1) Mbala (1) McDonald's (1) Melilla (1) Mexicans (1) Michael Pollan (1) Michelle Obama (1) Micronesia (1) Military (1) Military Dictatorship (1) Minuteman Trail (1) Mongolia (1) Monsanto (1) Montana (1) Morocco (1) Mount Auburn Cemetery (1) Muslim (1) NPS (1) Nantucket (1) National Education Regime (1) Native American (1) Native Americans (1) New Bedford (1) New Hampshire (1) New Orleans (1) New York City (1) New York Times (1) Nigeria (1) No Child Left Behind Act (1) Norquist (1) North Africa (1) Nuts (1) Oakland (1) Oaxaca (1) Occupeligo (1) Occypy (1) Oklahoma (1) Oklahoma City (1) Oppression (1) PARCC (1) Pakistan (1) Pascal's Wager (1) Peanut (1) Pearson Regime (1) Philadelphia (1) Philippines (1) Pink Unicorns (1) Poland (1) Portuguese (1) Protest (1) Public Education (1) Puebla (1) Puritans (1) Quest University (1) Rachel Carson (1) Reading (1) Republican (1) Retro Report (1) Robert Reich (1) Rock Legend (1) Ronald Reagan (1) Rondonia (1) Rosa Parks (1) SEXCoffee (1) Safety (1) Samoza (1) Sandino (1) Sara Vowell (1) Save the Children (1) Scotch (1) Scotland (1) Seinfeld (1) Senegal (1) Sergio Mendes (1) Severin (1) Sharrod (1) Silent Spring (1) Sinatra (1) Slope (1) Smokey the Bear (1) Somalia (1) Sombra (1) Sonora (1) Sonoran desert (1) Sonoran hot dog (1) South America (1) Spain (1) Stairway to Heaven (1) Storm (1) Suare Inch of Silence (1) Sumatra (1) Swamp (1) Tacloban (1) Tanzania (1) The Amazon (1) The Amazon Trail (1) Tigris (1) Tucson (1) Tufts (1) U.S Federal Reserve (1) U.S Government (1) U.S. economy (1) USDA (1) USLE Formula (1) Uganda (1) Unfamiliar Fishes (1) Union Carbide (1) Vacation (1) Vexillology (1) Vietnam (1) ViralNova (1) WNYC Data News (1) Wall Street (1) Walsenburg (1) Walt Disney (1) Walt and El Grupo (1) Ward's Berry Farm (1) West (1) Whaling (1) Wilson (1) Winter Storm Saturn (1) Wisconsin (1) World Bank (1) Xingu (1) YouTube (1) Zombies (1) agriculture (1) antitrust (1) aspen (1) austerity (1) aviation (1) banned books (1) bark beetle (1) bean (1) bicycle (1) bicycling (1) bike sharing (1) binary (1) biodiversity (1) bioneers (1) books (1) boston globe (1) cacao (1) cafe (1) campaign (1) campus (1) cantonville (1) capitals (1) carbon dioxide (1) carbon offsets (1) carioca (1) cash (1) cashews (1) census (1) chemex (1) chemistry (1) chronology (1) churrasco (1) civil rights (1) coffee grounds (1) coffee hell (1) coffee prices (1) coffee quality (1) college (1) compost (1) computerized test (1) congress (1) conservation commission (1) corporations (1) countries (1) cubicle (1) dams (1) deBlij06 (1) deBlij08 (1) death (1) deficit (1) development (1) dictatorship (1) distracted learning (1) distraction (1) drug war (1) dtm (1) earth (1) economic diversification (1) economic geography (1) election (1) embargo (1) energy (1) enhanced greenhouse effect (1) environmentalist (1) ethnomusicology (1) exremism (1) failed states (1) farming (1) financial crisis (1) football (1) forestry (1) forro (1) fracking (1) free market (1) free trade (1) fuel economy (1) garden (1) genocide (1) geography education (1) geography games (1) geography of chocolate (1) geography of food (1) geologic time (1) geotechnology (1) gerrymandering (1) global pizza (1) globe (1) goodall (1) green chemistry (1) ground water (1) guacamole (1) guatemala (1) high-frutcose (1) home values (1) hospitality (1) hourglass (1) housing (1) illegal aliens (1) income (1) indigenous (1) interfaith (1) journalism (1) kitchen garden (1) labor (1) landscape ecology (1) language (1) libertarianism (1) library (1) linguistics (1) little rock (1) llorona; musica (1) macc (1) maccweb (1) magic realism (1) maple syrup (1) mapping (1) masa no mas (1) massland (1) medical (1) mental maps (1) mi nina (1) microlots (1) microstates (1) mining (1) mltc (1) monopoly (1) municipal government (1) nautical (1) neoclassical economics (1) new england (1) newseum (1) newspapers (1) noise pollution (1) pandas (1) petroleum (1) piracy (1) pirates (1) poison ivy (1) police (1) political geography (1) pollution (1) provincial government (1) proxy variables (1) public diplomacy (1) quesadilla (1) rabbi (1) racism (1) real food cafe (1) regulations (1) remittances (1) resilience (1) resistance (1) respect (1) rigoberta menchu (1) rios montt (1) romance (1) roya (1) runways (1) russia (1) satellites (1) science (1) sea level (1) selva negra (1) sertao (1) sertão (1) sex (1) sex and coffee (1) simple (1) sin (1) smokey (1) solar (1) solar roasting (1) south africa (1) sovereignty (1) species loss (1) sporcle (1) sports (1) state government (1) taxes (1) tea party (1) teaching (1) textile (1) texting (1) tortilla (1) training (1) transect; Mercator (1) travel (1) triple-deckers (1) tsunami (1) urban geography (1) utopia (1) vermont (1) vice (1) video (1) wall (1) water resources (1) water vapor (1) whiskey (1) whisky (1) widget (1) wifi (1) wild fire (1) wildfire (1) wildlife corridor (1) wto (1)