Developers should make an effort to save trees

KHOU-11 has a story about developers leveling large areas of trees to build new developments and how Harris County might address the problem:

Trees don't stand a chance against progress, and they continue to be toppled by the thousands.

In many cases, acres of forests are being clear-cut to make way for new houses or strip malls.

In almost any development, some trees must die. But all of them? Out in the county, there are no rules whatsoever when it comes to destroying trees. But that may be about to change.

Harris County is in the process of drafting what could be its first-ever landscape regulation.

Officials say it likely will not prevent developers from cutting down existing trees, but will require them to replant a certain number of new trees.

But why do developers destroy perfectly good trees in the first place?

"Developers would like to save trees if we could," says Ed Taravella.

Taravella is a developer who's working with the county on the new regulation.

"What we've found is while we'd like to save the trees, it's just about impossible to do it when you're doing affordable or entry level housing," he says.

Why?

Developers explain that because Harris County is so flat, most new developments have to be built up a least a little bit, and that new soil, when heaped around old trees, usually kills them. They say saving trees is only affordable in high-dollar developments.

For example, there is a Kroger parking lot where great care was taken to save big, old trees by leaving the soil around them untouched, while building up the rest of the parking lot.

Kathy Lord wishes more developers did that.

"It's very depressing to think about how long it takes a tree to grow," says Lord, of Trees of Houston, a non-profit group that has already planted thousands of trees along streets and freeways.

I am with Kathy Lord, of Trees for Houston, on this. Developers should make more of an effort to save existing trees, which would add to the value of a home. I live out where lots of acreage is being clear cut for new housing and businesses, and it is heartbreaking. All those tall pines and oaks and whatever else are just bulldozed right over, then put in a big pile and burned. It's hard to watch.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 01/22/05 09:50 AM | Print |

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