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Trees on West Broadway in good health, survey says

Posted by Patrick Rosso  November 29, 2012 09:44 AM

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The majority of trees that line West Broadway in South Boston are in healthy shape, according to a report released by Southie Trees.

The study, conducted by the tree and green advocacy group, surveyed the 106 “street” trees that line the thoroughfare, finding that 91.5 percent are in good or fair health.

Using the computer program iTree, Southie Trees was able to quantify their results, showing the neighborhood the tangible benefits of trees to the community and its residents.

“A lot of people don’t understand all the benefits of the trees around us,” said Bethany Lawlor, coordinator for Southie Trees. “We want people to be aware of all the positives.”

From improving water quality to lowering CO2 in the air, Lawlor said the trees in South Boston are helping keep the neighborhood not only beautiful, but healthy.

“They do everything from helping boost property values to reducing noise,” said Lawlor. “It’s also esthetically beneficial to the neighborhood and the [West Broadway] business district.”

The report, which was released earlier this week and was conducted over the summer, found that the trees that line West Broadway contribute $14,320 in benefits to the community yearly.

Those benefits, turned into dollar amounts, highlight all the good that comes from the Honelocust, Green Ash, Callery Pear, and Zelkova trees that line the street. But while the trees are in good shape, Lawlor said that doesn’t mean they can be ignored by the community.

From constant watering to the changing weather, Lawlor said the trees in the neighborhood still need help.

“It’s been a tough year for the trees from the storm to the warm winter,” Lawlor added. “We want to use this as a jumping off point to get more people involved. Our climate is changing, the winters are getting warmer and our summers are getting dryer and we need to get people involved.”

The survey, conducted in partnership with South Boston Youth Ambassadors, is only the beginning for the group and the neighborhood trees.

Over the coming months Lawlor said South Trees hopes to partner with the Urban Ecology Institute, which plans to survey all the “street” trees in the city of Boston.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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