Sunday, January 24, 2016

Why "local indigenous" isn't sound logic

A lot of people call for the street trees in an area to be the locally indigenous species - ie the trees that were there before the city was built. The logic is that they are perfectly adapted to the local conditions.

This sounds logical but it's not.


Because "the local conditions" have changed so drastically.

As soon as you build a city you change everything; the topography, the vegetation, the soil, the drainage, the temperatures, the winds….everything. Nothing even remotely resembles the conditions that were there before so it's totally unreasonable to expect the local indigenous trees to perform as they did before.

The City of Sydney Street Tree Masterplan puts it this way:
Whilst locally indigenous species may be the most appropriate for local environmental conditions, the growing conditions within the urban environment are often now very different, particularly in a street situation. Disturbed soil profiles, compaction, higher nutrient status, altered drainage patterns and paved surfaces are just a few of the problems with which urban trees must contend.

Cities are a completely artificial construct. The avenues of trees that shade them (usually) need to be the same.

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