The Alliance for Cape Fear Trees – among various other local organizations and businesses – are concerned that rapid growth and development are having a negative impact on the area’s environmental and economic health due to the loss of mature trees and natural habitat.
Many friends, families, associates and neighbors in our community are deeply concerned about the threat to trees and their natural habitats posed by current and future development plans, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. As the recent Green Infrastructure Center’s study recommendations suggest, taking a closer look at our trees as a natural and effective way of mitigating problems and providing benefits would be of advantage to the Cape Fear region. It is suggested that enhanced concentration on tree protection and preservation is essential, as trees provide both aesthetic and economic value to the community.
This is why…
A healthy tree canopy provides an improved sense of place and enhances quality of life of Cape Fear residents. In a healthy environment, buildings and roads are balanced and complemented by nature, attracting both tourists and appropriate businesses to the area.
The Cape Fear region is a welcoming one: inviting those to join our community just temporarily and consistently advocating the relocation of those seeking a coastal atmosphere permanently. This population influx, however, does lead to more development – and as a result – additional tree loss.
Environmentally, trees improve soil quality and bind it together. They aid in the creation and protection of critical wetland environments and related fisheries. As seen during Hurricane Florence, stands of trees deflect wind in a way that structures and individual trees do not. Trees remove water from the ground, assisting with storm water abatement and flood protection. Without trees, we lose habitats for animals and plants – some rare and specific to our area – while creating problems such as storm water flooding from surface runoff. Trees also provide shade and protection from winds, saving energy costs.
Protecting and planting appropriate native trees is critical for our community. The finite and rapidly dwindling tree acreage on the New Hanover County/Wilmington peninsula could be retained and replenished in the coming years.
Specifying the planting of certain types of native trees could help increase our urban canopy. And developers could be more informed – and incentivized – in standing behind the cause.
Community members also continue to advocate for an ongoing increase of funds for tree planting and maintenance programs to build the natural infrastructure. More green medians – including trees – within infrastructure plans would offset a portion of recent losses due to Hurricane Florence. It has been suggested that a green-space bond could be earmarked for replacement of trees in public spaces and their subsequent maintenance. With that said, proper annual maintenance must be ensured so that our trees are not victim to upcoming inclement weather.
After one storm passes, the next one is always on the horizon… with the potential result of many residents unnecessarily removing trees from their property. Hence the reason why education for residents and visitors regarding the value and correct selection and placement of trees is essential.
The Alliance for Cape Fear Trees has a simple request:
As a community and a viable environment, let’s find a way to keep a balance between our current state and the planned future infrastructures of our place-of-living.
At the end of the day, our economy and quality-of-life depend on the preservation of our trees.