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Quality of Life Demands Parks, Mature Trees

May 05, 1991

Your article "Paradise Lost" (Times, April 25), which reported on the cutting down of about 50 mature trees in Schabarum Park, really touched a nerve with me.

Research in recent years has shown the value of mature trees in urban areas is far greater than in the country. Trees absorb carbon compounds and other pollutants from the air we breathe, and provide shade that reduces the amount of energy we must expend to air-condition businesses and homes.

Because of our growing awareness that trees provide more than just beauty, many San Gabriel Valley cities have enacted tree protection ordinances.

One of the compelling reasons for cities to protect mature trees is that they take so long to replace. If a house is destroyed by fire, or earthquake, it can be totally rebuilt in about a year. If a mature oak tree is destroyed on a whim by a chain saw, it will take 50 or 100 years to replace!

Even cities with tree protection ordinances continue to receive plans for new construction where no attempt whatever is made to preserve the mature trees on site! I know because I see them submitted in the city of San Gabriel, where I sit on the committee that reviews the design and site planning of such projects. It is not uncommon to discover that the building and landscape architects have not even visited the site before drawing up the plans!

We need more parks and mature trees within our towns and cities if we want to maintain the quality of our lives, health and environment.

GUY C. DENECHAUD

San Gabriel

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