Monday, 3 December 2007

Trees - our London lifeblood

When I moved back to London I was really struck by the variation in certain areas which had massive amounts of trees and some that just had too few. It seems to me like a bit of a no-brainer really - you just can't have too many trees.

Trees provide us with the oxygen we need to live and sustain life. They clean the air and offer us shade and protection. They provide shelter to an enormous array of wildlife. And most convincing for me - they were here before we were.

So I was more than delighted to see that some re-planting (albeit small scale) had taken placed down Reddington Road and was particularly pleased to see these little notices have been appended on the supportive stake next to each tree:

"Please help water me

"When the weather is dry I will require extra water (dish/bath/vegetable/rain water) over the next few months

"Please water me first thing in the morning at at dusk

"I am watered by contractors but I will need extra help throughout the year"

Replaced by Camden, it reveals the love and affection and professional pride in this planting by the staff and on the back of considerable support for trees and planting across this part of London

London is now every built up, and I have sat through too many discussions where it is explained that trees can't be replaced because of their roots and gorwth interferring with cables, underground etc etc. It seems to me really sad, for example, that the Finchley Road once had trees down the middle of it but now they are a distant memory sacrificed to the development of the car and traffic. Is it too late to bring them back?

I have served on the Hampstead Heath Management Committee for the last two years and have been more than struck at the issues surrounding trees - the way they are nutured and loved, maintained and assisted by the Heath staff who care for them. There are times when we see trees that have been cut back or pollarded and the effect is dramatic (and you tend to assume the nagative) but in fact the work is remedial or medium term and the following year the tree is flourishing again - it's been a real education for me.

Revealing something of my own childhood reading habits, it has certainly brough home to me the significance and depth of Tolkien's chapters on the Tree Ents in Lord of the Rings... an environmental concern at a time when change could have been achieved for the better if more people had understood what we know know about climate, nature and the fragile globe on which we live.

1 comment:

green giant said...

these people take an original approach to bypassing red tape and restoring unloved areas. Worth getting in touch with them if you have any eyesores locally
http://www.guerrillagardening.org/