National Tree Day, who cares? I do

I will champion a fresh approach to strategic tree management in Lake Macquarie, if elected on 8 September.

As volunteers and property owners around Lake Macquarie celebrate National Tree Day by planting new trees, I congratulate them on the gift they are bestowing on following generations.

Trees provide benefits throughout their lives, and often beyond.  Generally, the larger a tree the greater the benefit it provides.  The longer a tree lives, the longer it continues to provide those benefits.

However, many trees do not grow large enough or long enough to provide their maximum benefit.  They succumb to lack of water, or vandalism, or predation, or inadequate care, or are removed because of ill-founded fear of risk, or from competition with development.

All around are trees that are sickly and damaged, that drop dead branches and aren’t aesthetically pleasing, which need to be removed before they attain a fraction of their potential.

Trees must be nurtured and cared for if the maximum benefit is to be derived from them.

Let the trees we plant be those that are around to shade and cool our grandchildren, to clean the air they breathe, and to provide them with relief and enjoyment in their daily living.

Trees are nature’s air conditioners.   They suck up moisture from the earth and transpire water though their leaves, to evaporate and cool the air.  Not only do they cool the air, they clean it.  Their leaves filter particulate matter and absorb gases, such as carbon dioxide.  The bulk of every tree was once carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Trees provide habitat and facilitate healthy biodiversity.  “We must protect and manage our urban trees so that ecological communities are linked by sustainable vegetative corridors, that permit the migration of birds and other tree-dependent fauna.

Trees are a fundamental component of the urban ecosystem and must be managed on a sustainable basis.  Planting trees alone is not enough.  We must care for our trees.

Ms Jane Oakley
Greens candidate for Lake Macquarie Council North Ward