Why It Matters
Climate change is the threat. Urban forests are part of the solution. We are the difference.
Do your little bit of good where you are;
It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world
– Desmond Tutu –
Conserving trees is always a good idea!
Urban forests are environmental powerhouses.
Trees are vital to the health, wealth, social equity and resilience
of all people who live in cities.
This means we need to cope with the ever-changing ‘new normal’
bounce back after disruption … deal with threats … overcome ignorance … work with nature, instead of in opposition to it.
Benefits of Trees
Urban forestry is defined as the conserving of trees in the urban and suburban environment.
This means the right tree, planted in the right place, in the right way, promotes the benefits trees provide for people, wildlife, and climate.
We live in a warming world, where growing threats from climate change require climate adaptation.
There is a growing awareness that if we want to grapple with climate change, water quality, waste reduction, and species loss, taking good care of our forests is fundamental.
As the world seeks solutions to this crisis, urban forestry is a key component of any civic strategy that’s looking at ways to maximise the benefits that trees provide.
People who sell timber for building or braai wood certainly do, but what about the worth of a living tree?
While trees are working hard for air quality, they’re also increasing property values, improving business performance and creating tree-related career opportunities.
WELL BEING BENEFITS
SOCIAL EQUITY BENEFITS
Threats to Trees
BIODIVERSITY HOT SPOT
INVASIVE VS INDIGENOUS
We need to understand the crucial difference between trees that are declared ‘alien invasive species’ and trees that are merely ‘alien or exotic’ species, and are not a threat to South Africa’s unique biodiversity.
The Invasive Shot Hole Borer (ISHB) or Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) beetle poses a significant threat to what makes South Africa’s biodiversity unique.
It could potentially be one of South Africa’s largest ecological tragedies, judging by the number of trees it has killed since arriving in 2017.
No definative remedy has yet been discovered for this devastating threat.
The infestation is spreading nation-wide.
It is conservatively estimated that the mortality rate of urban trees is 25 percent. And the clock is ticking.
We urgently need solutions that are not limited to reductionist, intractable approaches (like the City’s current domination model – that fells the tree in order to kill the beetle), as much as we need safeguards from cowboy contractors offering false hope, or opportunists with DIY treatment kits.
Some proposed treatments involve electronic/sonic deterrents.
Other experts are looking at systematic and scientific methods that factor in the sustainability of the localised environment.
There are effective alternative treatments based on scientific trials and substantiated evidence.
Since this is a country-wide threat, all sustainable solutions need to be considered.
When only partial areas of the trees are stripped, it causes serious damage as it inhibits the growth pattern and weakens the tree, making it more susceptible to drought and disease.