Sustainable Margate Community Forestry Plan

Margate features tree-lined streets.

Steve Jasiecki

Streets and alleys make up 25 percent to 45 percent of a city. They are the main face of what people see as they walk, drive and go about their daily routines. Streetscaping defines the look and aesthetics of a community. Because of this, city master plans and ordinances are put into effect to ensure city streets maintain a certain appeal. One of the key components of streetscaping is the amount and types of trees that line the streets.

Trees increase property values, help with storm water abatement, clean the air and add an overall aesthetic appeal to the community.

Along with the benefits, there are liabilities. They can lift sidewalks, interfere with power lines and are subject to disease and parasites. A community forestry management plan addresses these concerns.

A well-thought-out forestry management plan establishes a framework to improve a city’s management and understanding of its trees. It creates a criteria for proper tree selection so they will thrive in their location. It creates a risk assessment of existing trees to determine their vitality and provides proper education for those who will be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the trees.

Other goals of forestry plans are to stimulate a community’s appreciation of its trees and bring an awareness of their benefits and why they are important. It will also protect older, established trees from being cut down without consideration.

Increasing the tree canopy adds a greater comfort level by providing shade for pedestrians and cyclists. By shielding the streets from the hot sun, it mitigates the heat island effect. A healthy urban forest contributes to a greener, more vibrant community, which makes walking and shopping more enjoyable.

If we are to preserve and protect our existing trees as well as establish a criteria for how we manage our streetscaping, it is well worth adapting a community forestry plan. Increasing the knowledge and skills for those responsible for the planting and care of the city’s trees brings greater financial and ecological benefits to a community. It also creates a more desirable place to live.

Sustainable Downbeach is working toward creating a healthier, friendlier community with an eye on protecting the environment. For information or to get involved see Sustainable Downbeach on Facebook.

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