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Urban forest is part of sustainability
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Last week four candidates for the City's alderman at large posts attended a forum sponsored by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign and the USGBC Savannah Branch. The forum's theme was sustainability and transportation and discussion ensued for nearly 1.5 hours.

"Sustainability" for Savannah is a complex puzzle with many pieces. Many hot topics were mentioned during the forum, including solar, wind and geothermal energy; electric, hybrid and natural gas fueled cars, better bus & train options, bicycle routes and city-wide residential and commercial recycling.

There were too few mentions of the first R in the trinity: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. When will Savannah put a limit on what people can throw into those big green garbage bins?

And no mention of trees.

One reason that so many people come to see our beautiful city is for our tree lined streets, canopy filled parks and abundance of shade during the hot summer months. Without the vibrant and healthy urban forest made up of a variety of tree species, including our beloved Live oak and Magnolias, do you think we could still have a strong tourism industry?

Imagine: boulevard streets baking in the sun, historic district squares carpeted with just grass, and Forsyth and Daffin Parks without a shady bench.

The Savannah Tree Foundation is proud of its past work with the City of Savannah and the Park & Tree Department to support our urban forest. Next month when this city elects a new mayor, and city council, let's be sure our representatives know how important trees are to Savannah's sustainability.

•The Savannah Tree Foundation strongly urges that the City of Savannah plant as many trees as it removes each year and continue to aspire to a 50 percent tree canopy cover.

• We urge that a tree inventory is maintained by trained professionals to afford the city the benefits of this technology.

• We recommend that any projects involving trees be conducted under the supervision of the Park and Tree department.
The Savannah Tree Foundation applauds the department on developing the Forsyth Park Arboretum and for the research to find tree species suitable for our climate and the urban environment.

Karen Jenkins

Director, Savannah Tree Foundation