Announcements

Environment Council of Rhode Island

...building an ecologically healthy future in a sustainable economy

Improved Urban and Community Tree Care

Pub Date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Whereas abundant photographic evidence has been presented that the common practice of builders of new homes and other real estate development in the state is to drastically reduce topsoil and upset tree root systems to the degree that excessive tree mortality occurs in one to five years upon the completion of construction of new properties; and

Whereas the nursery and landscape businesses in the state often improperly plant young trees by placing their root collars too high or too low in relation to grade level as well as by placing excessive mulch mounds causing lower trunk bark to rot thereby causing excessive young tree morbidity and mortality; and

Whereas the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the state's utility industries and their contractors often conduct pruning practices of public trees without using best management practice standards or having sensitivity to the requests of property owners and local tree groups; and

Whereas Congress mandated that a designated nonprofit organization that has an independent voice be a partner with state government in implementing the federally funded state urban forestry program, and the designated nonprofit organization in Rhode Island receives less than one quarter of the annual federal appropriation and is improperly housed within the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; and

Whereas the state urban forestry program could be substantially improved in relation to arborist licensing, local grants administration, and implementing the Rhode Island Urban and Community Forest Plan adopted by the State Planning Council in May, 1999;

Now therefore be it resolved that the Environment Council of Rhode Island:

1. Calls on the Rhode Island General Assembly's Standing Committee on Environmental Accountability to form a task force to address public and private sector practices of urban and community tree care in the State of Rhode Island; and

2. Calls on the Governor of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Department of Administration to bring about effective implementation of the Rhode Island Urban and Community Forest Plan; and

3. Calls on the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to substantively reform the state urban forestry program by improving the arborist licensing program, redefining its relationship with the designated independent nonprofit organization mandated by Congress, and reformulating the distribution of federal funds; and

4. Calls on the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the state's utility industries and their contractors to notify municipal officials and local residents of tree cutting and tree trimming operations, to practice state of the art urban tree care as defined by professional arborist organizations, and to listen attentively and respond appropriately to the concerns of local residents and local tree groups; and

5. Calls on the state's municipalities to adopt, implement and enforce local tree ordinances that protect and nurture both privately and publicly owned trees; and

6. Calls on the state's home builders and real estate developers as well as the state's nurseries, tree service companies and landscapers to recognize the property value and the ecological value of established trees by learning and practicing state of the art tree care as defined by the International Society of Arboriculture and its local chapters.