Category Archives: Tree planting
Memorializing through reforestation: the Flight 93 National Memorial
Readers from outside the U.S. may or may not remember, but Flight 93 was the one hijacked commercial flight on September 11, 2001 that failed to reach its target (presumably Congress or the White House) due to a passenger revolt, crashing in a field in southwest Pennsylvania. The crash site was subsequently turned over to the National Park Service as an official National Memorial. Though dedicated last year, the tree-planting is not yet complete. I’m struck by the scale of it: not just one tree per passenger, but one grove per passenger, as an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reminds us.
This is the second year of the reforestation effort. The goal is to have 150,900 new trees at the location. The Flight 93 memorial includes 40 groves of trees, one grove for each passenger or crew member who died on Sept. 11, 2001 when the plane crashed as the passengers and crew battled terrorists. The memorial is operated by the National Parks Service.
The seedlings were planted by volunteers—more than 500 of them. The website says only that they are “a mixture of several native species.” (The nursery is a little over 100 miles away, so perhaps the genotypes were fairly local in origin.) The memorial groves themselves have already been planted; this subsequent, three-year effort is to provide a windbreak for the groves.
The impulse to memorialize through afforestation seems especially appropriate given the location in Pennsylvania, the only one of the states named for its forests. However, Pennsylvania also has a long history of industrial exploitation, and the Flight 93 site was no exception. As the website points out:
Part of the architect’s vision for the memorial is that it will be a place of renewal. Reclaiming the land after decades of surface mining has left much of it in open grassland.
“Reclaiming” is of course a far cry from true restoration or healing, whence the need for tree-planting. It’s interesting to me that the national trauma of 9/11 has pointed to another trauma, one we ourselves have inflicted upon the land. By tying them together like this, the memorial gains a meta dimension — a woods re-created in part to memorialize itself.
“Forest Man of India” to plant a second forest
He transformed a 550-hectare barren sandbar on the Brahmaputra into a sprawling jungle, single-handedly. At 52, Jadav Payeng now plans to upgrade another sandbar into a forest. His relentless efforts have earned Payeng the “Forest Man of India” title.
Located near Kokilamukh, 12-km away from his village in Assam’s Jorhat district, Mulai Kathoni (Mulai is his nickname) forest is a result of three decades of Payeng’s hard work. The lush forest has over one [sic] lakh trees and is home to leopards, rabbits, apes, birds, snakes, vultures, deer, wild boars and wild buffaloes.
Payeng’s efforts are viewed as significant given Assam’s alarming loss of forest cover in recent years.
Rajasthani village plants 111 trees every time a girl is born
From The Hindu:
For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.
Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.
Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons— including neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.
But this village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloevera plants around them. Now these trees, especially the Aloevera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.
Read the whole article. (Hat-tip: C’mon, Let’s Plant a Tree)
“Food forest” planned for Seattle
The locavore and livable cites movements have found common cause in Seattle, according to TakePart:
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
Clayton Bell, guerrilla orchardist
Clayton Bell is “an environmental hydrogeologist in Houston, Texas who is obsessed with growing fruit trees,” and his blog The Bell House is the latest addition to our linkroll of blogs about trees and forests. He blogs about pomegranates, Japanese lemons, trifoliate orange trees, how to root fig cuttings, and more. His latest post, “Squat Orchard,” describes how he started a pecan plantation on a vacant lot.
I planted the trees approximately 35 feet apart along the northern edge of the lot where they should be fairly out of the way. It also looks like water from the nearby homes drains to that area, which will be big plus if we have another brutally dry summer. I placed a 3-gallon pot with the bottom cut out around each tree to protect the trunk, and marked them with orange pin flags, small t-posts with some orange flag tape, and metal tags with the variety names. I’m hoping that this will be enough to keep the mowers that come around every couple of months from cutting them down. If I can fool the mowers into thinking that those trees are supposed to be there, then the trees’ chances of survival will be that much better. I’m going to go back later and add some printed labels with an official sounding name, for a little extra insurance.
Urban tree news: Pittsburgh’s master plan, San Francisco street trees on their own, and the eucalopalypse
There’s some big news about urban forestry coming out of Pittsburgh and San Francisco over the past two weeks.
- An organization called Tree Pittsburgh is at work on that city’s first ever Urban Forest Master Plan, and is now soliciting public input. Since a majority of the city’s trees are privately owned, public buy-in will critical.
- As of last week, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works is no longer responsible for the city’s 23,000 street trees. Their maintenance and upkeep costs are now up to local residents.
- And also in San Francisco, the long-simmering battle over the fate of the thousands of non-native, invasive eucalyptus trees is heating up. What’s a tree-hugger to do when entire regions become taken over by trees with low value for native wildlife species?
Thanks, by the way, to Georgia Silvera Seamans at the local ecologist blog for sending these (and many other recent links) my way.
The once and future forest of Sebangau National Park
Mike at Under the Banyan Tree reports on the seemingly daunting but ultimately encouraging struggle to recover a forest devastated by loggin in Borneo.
The national park managers showed us before and after photographs that revealed how they were slowly turning a wasteland into something that once more resembled a forest. Since 2005, they have planted more than a million trees on 5,000 hectares of the burnt and deforested land. In 2012, they aim to plant trees on another 2,000 hectares.
This is just a start. Because forests like that at Sebangau store vast quantities of carbon below ground in their buried peat and above ground in their trees, they can play an important role in limiting climate change.
It means that efforts to reforest Sebangau could be among the first projects in line for funding under an international scheme called REDD+ that will allow polluting companies and countries to offset their carbon emissions by paying to plant trees and protect forests.
Read the rest of the post to learn how this could help save one of our closest animal cousins from extinction.
Too much of a good thing? The trouble with unplanned urban tree planting
The UK blog Save Our Woods features a guest post from the chair of a tenant management organization (TMO) for a housing estate in London. George Arkless finds himself in the awkward position of having to advocate for tree removal, and reflects on the consequences of poor planning for urban trees.
Poor planning, in the residents’ view, means that the problems we now face are numerous, and while anyone from the council we have invited to look at the problems have agreed with us felling trees is such a sensitive matter that no one has been willing to put it in writing.
Just as there is delight when I get out of London and see trees in their true magnificence, or seeing a tree that is alive with life, or a tree so beautiful it just takes your breath away. Why should I need to leave the neighbourhood I live in to see such beauty around me?
Reforestation “tree-preneurs” in Durban, South Africa
Mike at Under the Banyan reports:
Busisiwe Ndlela was radiant when I met her yesterday. Just this month, and with money she earned selling tiny trees, she has bought a new cupboard and an electric stove and she is proud as can be.
I met this 60-year old mother of seven on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa where she and hundreds of other women are helping to transform their communities and the landscape around them, one seed at a time.
Be sure to read the rest of this very encouraging post.
How to plant street trees in Chennai
Madras Ramblings reports on a neighborhood tree planting initiative where the residents managed to have each sapling ‘sponsored’ by a kid — a model worth emulating elsewhere, I think.
It has been raining heavily ever since, and we hope this has given a good start to these saplings. We also uncovered other pooarasam saplings among the weeds, obviously from some previous planting efforts. Let’s hope these saplings grow, along with our kids, into lovely tall, shady trees!
Read the rest. (Thanks to Arati for the link.)