Canopy loss on Amelia Island has been dramatic over the past thirty years. The following photos from Google Earth, taken in 2016, provide a small sample. We encourage you to explore the island on Google Earth yourself to understand our situation more precisely.
We can see the major contributors to canopy loss on the Island:
Everytime a road is cut through the forest, we usher winds and salt into the canopy and, as a result, we lose more trees than those cut. On roads running east to west, a wind tunnel is developed to usher storm winds into our communities.
Housing & Commercial Developments:
The few remaining trees may eventually die from the change in their environment or the fact that they can no longer stand up to the winds. Perhaps a few shade trees will be planted, but they cannot replace the mature trees in terms of benefits. Some choose to plant palms, which also cannot provide the benefits of shade trees.
Extensive swaths of trees are cut that create wind tunnels across the island and usher wind and salt into the canopy. Furthermore, extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides pollutes the water and soil.
The clearing in this area was expanded even more a couple of years ago to meet regulations.
Homeowners are often unaware of the role that trees play in their environment. Often, they simply want to have grass like what they had somewhere else or they fall prey to misinformation that the trees are a threat.
- Some insurance companies demand that homeowners remove or dramatically cut trees or face the loss of their insurance coverage. Such decisions are often based on modeling that is not appropriate for our specific environment. In such cases, homeowners should contact their City or County arborist or ask their agent to find another insurance company.
The potential impact of this tree loss is a hotter island, increased cost of heating and cooling, increased storm damage, increased flooding, loss of tourism and our retirement population, and subsequent economic decline.