Southie Trees Tour: Reforesting South Boston

Friday, December 10, 2010.

Did you know that children who grow up on tree-lined streets have lower asthma rates? The USDA says that the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Healthy, mature trees also add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.

On Friday, Mike Kissinger of Southie Trees (South Boston Tree Action Team), led the Youth Leadership Team on a tour of the trees of South Boston. According to the Urban Ecology Institute’s “State Of The Urban Forest” inventory of Boston street trees, South Boston ranks 14 out of 16 Boston neighborhoods when it comes to existing tree canopy relative to potential tree canopy. Existing urban tree canopy (UTC) in South Boston: 9%. Possible additional UTC: 57%.

In the above photo, Mike and the Leadership team examine an empty tree cage near Andrew Station. Why empty? The tree died and was never replaced. Street trees in South Boston live an average of only eight to ten years, due to poor air quality. For more information on the short life-span of Boston street trees. The Urban Ecology Institute’s 2008 “State of the Urban Forest” report discusses the value of urban ecology, and some of the numerous benefits that a vital urban forest brings to its communities, including improved air quality, improved water quality and runoff management, a reduction in energy consumption resulting from trees’ natural heating and cooling effects, and a wide range of social and community benefits. The report then explores urban forest management in Boston and presents and analyzes data from the Greater Boston urban forest inventory.

We’d like to know: What differences stand out to you between UEI’s contemporary “State of the Urban Forest” report and the interesting albeit outdated 1978 report on Boston Urban Street Tree Survival? Leave your comments below!

Mike points out a mature street tree. He noted that while this tree is allotted a few square feet of space in the sidewalk, its roots stretch for twice the distance of the tree canopy; in other words, this tree’s roots extend under the asphalt parking lot next door.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s