Tree protection measure requires flexibility

Just read Chris Grygiel of Seattlepi.com blog post about the new tree measure in Seattle that could grant developers exemption for retaining trees if the trees preclude or prohibit the development of the site. This new tree protection measure seems a ham-fisted attempt at protecting trees which are in current developments (houses, offices, etc) not future developments. I can understand the need for exemption, as cities like Seattle try to encourage development in the city to create denser (in-fill) developments on existing sites instead of allowing urban sprawl to continue unabated. However, exemptions should be given only where the tree is inspected and assessed by a qualified arborist that the tree is at the end of its life or of very poor form for it species. Developers should be encouraged wherever possible to retain all existing mature trees (including tree offsets/buffers) to maintain the green canopy of the city. The benefits of trees within a city are indisputable and the length of time it takes for new trees to mature on a development is decades.

Developers may find this stance very anti-development – however new development should occur within cities to provide denser housing, offices, and retail. This is where more flexibility in tree protection measures are needed. Flexibility would come in the form of clauses that grant exemptions if the developer can show that they are going to plant new trees or install a green roof that contributes the equivalent benefit as the tree to be removed. For a developer to provide the information for this type of exemption may increase the cost of developments as the developer will have to engage consultants to assess the green value of the new trees and green roof. However, the increased environmental cost of trees being removed may be far greater in the long term.

By Damian Holmes
3 August 2009

Argentine Rodent Devastating US Wetlands

Nutria is a rodent – Image Source – Flickr: blmurch

VOANews.com reports

Billions of dollars are spent every year in the United States in an attempt to control invasive species. Plants and animals brought legally and illegally into the country, have created extensive damage to the ecosystem and the economy.

SOURCE: Argentine Rodent Devastating US Wetlands – VOANews.com

Damage control – Haaretz

Haaretz reports

The planners behind the recently opened section of Road 6 did their best to reduce the highway’s impact on the environment but admit that ‘irreversible damage’ was done

The planning concept included a comprehensive approach to landscape, out of a desire to minimize damage to plant and animal life. To reduce the amount of digging and filling in, 14 bridges with a combined length of 2.5 kilometers were erected, and three tunnels for the passage of animals were dug.

read the full article at the SOURCE: Damage control – Haaretz – Israel News

Spark Sets Eyes On China – Spark Design & Architecture Awards

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 29, 2009 — Spark Design & Architecture Awards is extending its role in the booming Chinese design industry through SparkChina. These new awards will help Chinese creative teams raise their profile globally.

The Spark Awards is open to global entries from design, advertising and media agencies, students and commissioning clients until 15th September (early entry discount applies until 15th August). In addition to the global Spark Awards site at www.sparkawards.com. a new dedicated Chinese language website now provides information to ease design entry submissions at http://www.sparkawards.cn

SOURCE: PRWEB

Scientists Help Find Plant DNA Barcode

University of Guelph reports

It will now be possible to genetically differentiate the more than 400,000 species of land plants in the world thanks to DNA barcoding, a revolutionary technique invented at the University of Guelph.

An international team of 52 scientists – including seven from U of G – has concluded a four-year effort to find a standard “plant DNA barcode.” Their findings appear in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials.

The research involved scientists from 10 countries. Significant elements of data gathering and analysis were conducted at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB), which is based at U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario.

Peter Hollingsworth, head of genetics and conservation at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh who led the international research team, added: “Identification is important. It’s not possible to know if a plant is common or rare, poisonous or edible, being traded legally or illegally etc., unless it can be identified. But identification can be difficult: there are a large number of plant species and some look very similar.”

Other universities involved in the study are: the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Johannesburg, Korea University, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Universidad de Costa Rica, Columbus State University, University of Wisconsin, Universidad de los Andes Aberystwyth University, University of Cape Town, Hallym University, Seoul National University, University of Copenhagen, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Imperial College London. Agencies that participated in the research include the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural History Museum in London, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the New York Botanical Garden.

SOURCE: University of Guelph – Scientists help find Plant DNA code

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