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Loss of tree canopy in the US is dramatic

Joni Mitchell’s 1970s song Big Yellow Taxi is a catchy tune but listen to the lyrics and you’ll discover something more.

Few fully understand the environmental meaning behind the song – especially regarding the beautiful view tree canopies create all across the nation.

In an interview she did with the Los Angeles Times, Mitchell says, “I wrote Big Yellow Taxi on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.”

She was right to be concerned.

In the May issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening journal, it was discovered that metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees nationwide every year.

The math tells us that’s about 175,000 acres of tree cover in central cities and suburban areas.

Scientists are aware of the benefits of trees – removing air pollution, absorbing carbon, providing shade to conserve energy. But what about the losses you can’t see? Trees have other benefits you may not have known about.

Trees offer heat-stroke protection, enable you to breathe better, sleep more soundly, and have even been known to provide relief for stress, diseases and depression.

Their value is something we simply can’t ignore beyond the common assumptions, and their loss will be critical.
As municipalities and communities look to increase their tax dollars, they are sacrificing the benefits and magnificence of trees for strip malls and housing.

Sadly, they’re not replacing a fraction of what they’ve destroyed.

Plant a new tree on your property – maybe even two! Everyone needs to do their part for as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

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