The Importance of treeS

Speaker:  Jeff Angel, Executive Director Total Environment Centre

When:  Sunday 3 September 2.30pm

Where:  RSL Hall 56 Alexandra St Hunters Hill

Hosted by Vienna Committee FREE Admission

A canopy of mature trees has always been a feature of Hunters Hill. However the Vienna Committee has been concerned at the rate they are disappearing and this was highlighted in an article in the SMH in April this year that reported that Pittwater, Warringah, Hornsby, Willoughby, Hunters Hill and Manly local council areas have seen the highest percentage loss in their tree canopy in the past seven years. Major factors causing this loss are complying development laws, which permit the removal of trees under eight metres, and the notorious 10/50 rule, which was introduced to mitigate bushfire risk. The rule has been abused by homeowners who have been clearing trees so that views enhance their property values.

Trees affect our climate, and therefore our weather, in three primary ways: they lower temperatures, reduce energy usage and reduce or remove air pollutants. Each part of the tree contributes to climate control, from leaves to roots.

Trees reduce both surface and air temperatures in urban areas through transpiration and can also significantly reduce energy consumption through shading in the warm months and protecting buildings from cold winds.

Tree cover is also important for reducing  air pollution. Outdoor air pollution is a silent killer, in Australia where it accounts for more than 2 per cent of deaths, more than are caused by motor vehicle accidents. In Sydney alone, the costs have been calculated at about $4.5 billion annually.

Air pollution consists of noxious gases and tiny suspended fine particles (PM2.5) that are responsible for most of the health effects. Diesel engines are much worse than their petrol counterparts , producing up to four times the amount of nitrogen oxide and up to 100 times the particulate emissions.. In addition trees provide habitat for birds and other biodiversity, and provide aesthetic beauty.

Arising from the talk Vienna Cottage Committee will develop an advocacy program to save our trees in Hunters Hill