Critical factors in the survival of our canopy:
Cutting mature trees only when absolutely necessary
Trees should be cut when they are diseased or dangerous to the community.
Having a succession plan
Although some trees can live for hundreds of years, most don’t, and we need to plan ahead for the future of canopy in our yards, our neighborhoods, our City and County streets, rights of way and properties.
Ensuring that we have sufficient shade trees
Shade trees contribute greatly to our quality of life and our budgets. Replacing shade trees with palms will result in increased heat island effect on Amelia Island, higher costs of heating and cooling and increased pollution.
Ensuring that we have groups of trees
Most of our trees grew up in a forest, supported by other trees when strong winds came. When we isolate these trees by cutting the ones around them, we are inviting disaster.
Maintaining the topography and understory
Maintaining the understory is critical because it is the understory that creates fertile soil and maintains an appropriate level of moisture for the trees. Trees have matured living in a certain topography and with a particular understory. Changing this can kill the tree—it probably won’t die immediately, but over a period of five or ten years.
Maintaining the well being of root systems
Recent research has shown that what happens around the roots is just as important as what happens above ground. It has demonstrated that mycorrhizal networks (symbiotic associations of the mycelium of a fungus with the roots of a tree) process the minerals and water the trees need and enable trees to communicate and distribute nutrients to each other.
Most tree deaths in the US result from root compaction caused by driving and parking on the roots or storing heavy materials on top of the roots.
Because of the additional light added to the environment by development, native and invasive vines thrive and sometimes kill large trees by weighing them down or blocking light and smothering them.”
Designing around the Ecosystem
Rather than adapting the environment to fit the design we have in mind, we all need to learn to adapt our designs and building to work around existing native ecology on the parcel. This will help us retain native trees and understory, protect wildlife, reduce flooding and improve our resiliency.
Commitment of the community
Our City and County political leaders, City and County staff, business leaders, developers, builders, engineers, architects, realtors and residents must take responsibility for maintaining our canopy. Otherwise, we will soon lose the little that is left.