Understanding the importance of trees

Like many other Florida cities, Pompano Beach has been keeping close tabs on how they can have a greener thumb. A popular trend is to try and generate city wide incentives in regards to environmental practices and sustainable actions. In 2016 Pompano Beach wrote a document titled, Sustainable Development Standards, in hopes that this would lead the community to become more environmentally aware and sustainability oriented. The Sustainable Development Standards lays out Pompano Beach’s five main priorities which are: stormwater management and flood prevention, renewable energy, water conservation, green buildings, and promoting an active lifestyle. Obviously, it is easy to make a comprehensive list of citywide improvements but a greater challenge to actually follow through with implementing the necessary changes. Pompano Beach however not only talks the talk but walks the walk.

One organization in particular, Pompano Beach Urban Forestry, has a steadfast belief in these causes and has actually taken it upon themselves to work toward finding remedies for the challenges that the Sustainable Development Standards lays out in the document.  Pompano Beach Urban Forestry was certified as a National Wildlife Federation in 2010, showing that their commitment to the environment is deep rooted. The goal of the National Wildlife Federation is to not only protect local wildlife and habitats, but to educate both the youth and elderly on the positive impacts that come from coexisting with the natural habitats that surround them. Unbeknownst to many people, there are several benefits that come from maintaining ecosystems and planting trees. Every city is built on a base of concrete and cement, which naturally starts heating up after sitting in the sun for multiple hours. This is why if feels significantly hotter in the downtown part of the city compare to the suburbs and even ocean facing portion of the community. Trees are able to mitigate the concrete heat islands, to make it more bearable to be in urban settings. Another huge benefit that trees provide is that they are able to sequester carbon emissions. This is crucial since to offset the constant automobile exhaust as people travel place to place via a car or an Uber, all of which puts greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Trees, while they certainly do not eliminate all of the carbon emissions, are able to provide a natural way to mediate this impact.

Image courtesy of https://btlonline.org/the-answer-to-haitis-deforestation-problem-is-a-national-forestry-corps/

The Sustainable Development Standards indicates that one of the city’s main focuses revolve around improving stormwater management and flood protection.  Along comes proper tree placement to address this issue as well. Trees are able to help reduce coastline erosion and surface runoff thanks to their root systems. Having trees along the coast is a huge benefit since it acts as the first line of defense against hurricanes and floods. The fact that storms are coming more often with greater impact in recent years proves just how important it is to have trees as a buffer. If you are still unsure about the claim that trees are a good source of coastal protection, there is a real life comparison evident in the state of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  The same island and climate conditions has one country set survive a hurricane, while the other country is thrown into a social, environmental and economic emergency due to tree management practices. The last benefit of having trees is simply the beauty that comes with them. Imagine parks not having trees. Where would you sit to get out the shade? Your child would no longer be able to climb trees.  Picnics would not last long under the heat of the direct sun. Pompano can only become as green of a city as you make it, there is only so much that documents such as the Sustainable Development Standards can achieve without residents buying into them. Follow the Pompano Beach Urban Forestry lead and find a green passion that helps the community.

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